New freshmen (bachelor’s-degree seeking students) are required to live on campus their first year. All other international students are encouraged to live on campus for at least their first academic year to help ease the transition to living in the U.S.

How to Choose On-Campus Housing vs. Off-Campus Housing:

Below you will find what to expect for each type of housing, so you can decide for yourself which option is best for your circumstances. Decide which aspects are most important to you, and then choose accordingly. Expect that you will need to compromise some conveniences for others. For example, you may choose to live off-campus for a lower monthly cost in rent, but then you may not have a convenient location, included utility costs, on-site laundry, etc.  

On-Campus Housing

On-Campus Housing offers a simplified path to secure reliable housing. UWM owned facilities provide amenities and resources to support your success as a student.

UWM offers the following options: 

  • Sandburg Halls: Traditional space for new incoming freshmen, undergraduate students. 
  • Kenilworth Square Apartments: Entire facility designed for older students (21 years old+ or junior standing+), with priority given to graduate students. Apartment-style living. Note: Kenilworth Square Apartments is currently full for fall 2024.
  • RiverView Residence Hall: A mix of all student ages, mostly undergraduate students. Kitchen access on each floor. 
  • Cambridge Commons: A mix of all student ages, mostly undergraduate students. Kitchen access on each floor.  
Convenience and Proximity
  • Walking Distance: On-campus housing provides convenient access to classes, and other campus facilities. 
  • Transportation: Regular transportation services are available for students residing on campus. 
  • Living Learning Communities: You can participate in specialized communities based on shared interests or academic programs. 
  • Campus Dining Plan: Access to campus food plans and cafeterias.
Contract and Payment
  • Easy Contract: No background checks or lease agreements with private landlords. You sign a contract directly with the university. 
  • Commitment: A full academic year commitment is required to secure on-campus housing from UWM. 
  • Summer Stay: UWM will provide summer housing at an additional cost if space permits but it is not guaranteed.  
  • Rules: Compliance with all campus housing rules is mandatory 
  • Cost: On-campus housing costs are fixed and more inclusive of amenities. 
  • Payment: Fees are paid directly to the university through your PAWS account, typically charged per semester. 
  • UWM Payment Plan: Eligible for UWM’s payment plan. 
Amenities and Services
  • Organized Social Activities: On-campus housing hosts events and activities for current residents. 
  • Roommate Matching: Roommates will be assigned based on lifestyle compatibility, eliminating the need for you to find your own roommates. 
  • Security: Campus security ensures safety for residents and guests. 
  • Service Desk: A service desk caters to residents’ needs and is available 24/7. 
  • Maintenance: All property maintenance is provided by UWM. 
  • Mail and Packages: Secure delivery options available.  
  • Utilities and Wi-Fi: Utilities and Wi-Fi included in overall cost. 
  • Laundry: On-site laundry facilities. 
  • Furnishings: Basic furnishings are provided. 
  • Additional Amenities: Study spaces, fitness facilities, computer labs, printing, and network access. 

Off-Campus Housing

Off-Campus Housing may include more options; however it will be your responsibility to find a living situation that accommodates your priorities and lifestyle. The process to secure and maintain housing is complex.

How to Find Off-Campus Housing
  • It is your responsibility to find off-campus housing. The Off-Campus Resource Center has several resources available to help you, including an International Friendly Landlord List, a Preferred Tenant Program, and a site showing available apartments
  • Near campus is The Park at 1824. This may be a convenient option for new international students that are not yet familiar with the area.  It is within walking distance to campus, you can rent by the room, so you don’t need to find a roommate, and the apartments are fully furnished. 
  • Note that any off-campus arrangements (including The Park at 1824) are between you and your landlord, so UWM cannot help you secure the housing, nor get involved if there is a dispute. Please do adequate research about any place you are considering living before you sign a lease.
Convenience and Proximity
  • Complex Process: Finding off-campus housing can be complicated due to lease agreements, background checks, and deposits. 
  • Research: It is your responsibility to understand the lease process and whether it’s a good opportunity. 
  • Availability: You won’t be able to move in until your lease starts, so you might need temporary housing until then. Keep in mind that temporary guest housing is very limited at UWM. 
  • Location: May not be conveniently located near campus or other resources.  
Contract and Payment
  • Lease: Requires a legal contract (lease agreement) with a private landlord. The University Legal Clinic will also review your lease if you share it with them before you sign it (this service is free for enrolled students).
  • Landlord Issues: UWM cannot intervene if you have problems with your landlord or roommates. 
  • Expenses: Rent is a fixed amount per month for the duration of your lease, but anticipating living expenses can be more challenging, as you may need to pay for additional amenities. 
  • Cost: Monthly rent is paid to a private landlord and not through UWM.  
Amenities and Services
  • Roommates: You can have non-UWM students as roommates. Finding compatible roommates is your responsibility. 
  • Utilities: May need to pay additional costs for utilities and Wi-Fi, varying by contract. 
  • Furnishings: Most off-campus housing facilities do not provide any furnishings. 
  • Other amenities: Other available amenities like laundry vary between properties.