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J-1 Exchange Student: Housing

UWM offers on-campus housing in residence halls and manages some apartment style housing at other locations. Many UWM students live in apartments around the university and exchange students are free to arrange their own housing. If you decide to live off-campus, please note that the Center for International Education does not have the resources to help you find a room in an apartment.

University Housing

There are several options for university housing and you can research them here or here.  If you aspire to live with other students who have similar majors or interests, we encourage you to read about the Living Learning Communities (LLCs).  An LLC which may interest you is our Global Village LLC.  The Global Village is 3 internationally focused LLCs in one dorm.  The Global Village will consist of international students and US students who are interested in international travel, culture, or issues.  The specific LLC sponsored by the Center for International Education is called Global Connections.  Another university owned option is the Kenilworth Square Apartments. Please read below about the four options for university housing.

All residence halls at UWM offer high-speed internet access and basic cable television connections in each room, but students must bring their own computer and cables for internet access. Neither computers nor televisions are offered to students. All rooms also include a desk, chair, and bed with mattress. Linens are not provided. 

If you choose to live in university housing, you will need to sign a contract.  Please be sure to read the contract fully, and ask questions of the housing office if you don't understand. 

Sandburg Residence Hall
The Sandburg Residence Hall is home to over 2,700 UWM students. Sandburg offers students the convenience of being on campus with services which include a computer lab, cable television, a movie theater, a recreation area for socializing, a restaurant, and basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts outside. The residence halls are a great place to meet American and other international students. However, the students living there are generally younger and at times the dorms can be noisy. Some things University Housing does not provide are stoves (only microwave ovens), bed linens and desk lamps. Refrigerators are available to rent on a first come, first served basis.  If you are in East tower, you will have kitchen facilities in each suite.

Riverview Residence Hall


Riverview Residence Hall
Approximately 475 students live at the Riverview residence hall. RiverView is one of the newer Student Housing options, and was opened in 2008.  It is located at the intersection of Commerce Street and North Avenue on the Milwaukee River - just across the river from Cambridge Commons. Within walking distance there are two grocery stores, multiple restaurants and coffee shops, a movie theater, and locally-owned stores and boutiques.

Riverview features double rooms. Two students share one room, with two rooms per suite, which includes a bathroom. At Riverview, there is a student lounge, computers, a convenience store, a cafeteria, kitchen facilities, laundry, and exercise equipment.

The Milwaukee Country Transit System bus route 21 stops in front of Riverview, and routes 10, 15, and 30 stop within a few blocks. Students living at Riverview take a free shuttle to and from the UWM campus. The shuttle runs frequently throughout the day, and is available 24 hours a day.


Cambridge Commons Residence Hall
Approximately 700 students live at the Cambridge Commons residence hall. Cambridge Commons is our newest University housing facility, and is located at the intersection of Cambridge Avenue and North Avenue, just across the river from Riverview Residence Hall.

All rooms in Cambridge Commons are shared by two students. There are two rooms per suite, which include a shared bathroom. Students choosing the upgraded suite also have access to a kitchen furnished with a range, oven, microwave, sink, and table. All residents have access to a cafeteria, coffee shop, a courtyard, fitness room, and a laundry facility.


Purin Residence Hall 
Purin Hall was converted from an apartment building to a University Housing facility in the 1970's. Purin is a close-knit community of mostly returning students. Approximately 50 students live in this building.

It is very difficult to get a room in Purin Residence Hall as it is popular with returning UWM students who have the first choice for housing options. 





Applying to Live in a UWM Residence Hall 
Once CIE receives your UWM Exchange Student Application and you indicate that you wish to live in university housing, we will forward your information to the University Housing department. You will receive information from University Housing regarding your contract. After receiving your contract, it is your responsibility to complete, sign, and return it directly to university housing administration offices (located at Sandburg Hall, 3400 N Maryland Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211) with your deposit payment in U.S. Dollars as soon as possible. Deposit payment may be sent as a wire transfer using the following information:

Name of bank: US Bank
Bank address: 777 E. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Swift code for our bank: USBKUS44MIL
Our bank account number: 112801427
Name on bank account: University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
The wire transfer should reference the name of student, ID # starting with 991- and the phrase: "for dormitory fees"

Housing is not guaranteed until both the contract and payment are received. In case of emergencies or late application, your forms should be express mailed.

Important Notes Regarding all Residence Hall Contracts

  • The chances for you to get a single room (without a roommate) in Sandburg Hall for the fall semester are not very good because second and third year residents get priority assignments; however, your chances may be slightly better for getting a single room in spring if you place your name on the assignment wait list in fall. Riverview Hall and Cambridge Commons do not have single room options. All rooms in these two residence halls are double-occupancy.
  • Residence Hall contracts are for an academic year. If you are not staying for the academic year because you are on exchange for Fall semester only you will need to fill out a "Termination of Contract Form" sometime during the fall semester around October, and needs to be completed by the deadline. This form is available at the Main Desk in Sandburg Halls.  You should check with the Housing office to find out about penalties and fees if you are in University Housing for less than a year.
  • For students on exchange for an academic year, if you sign a contract with Sandburg Hall, Riverview, or Cambridge Commons for a year, you must stay for the entire year. You cannot stay for a semester and then decide to live off-campus. Please be aware that if you decide you do not want to live in any residence halls during your second semester, then you will be subject to a substantial  contract termination fee (approximatley $1200).
  • After your contract and deposit are returned you will be able to access a My Housing website to receive more information about your room assignment and roommate.

Kenilworth Square ApartmentsKenilworth Square Apartments
The Kenilworth Square Apartments are for older undergraduate students and graduate students. Room reservations and contracts for Kenilworth Square Apartments are not managed by CIE. Students must make direct contact in order to reserve a room there. Please note that students are not able to apply to live at Kenilworth Square and Sandburg at the same time.  To preview the Kenilworth Square Apartment Contract, please click here.

Off-Campus Housing

Off-campus housing can be arranged and reserved before you arrive. This gives you piece of mind when you arrive and will facilitate your first week here. On the other hand, finding housing upon your arrival will allow you to see the apartment or house and meet the roommates that you may end up living with, but it will require several nights living in a hotel. If you decide to commit to roommates before arriving, you may want to ask them questions about their living habits to make sure that you are compatible roommates.

If you choose to live off-campus we recommend that you live within biking or walking distance of the university. UWM has a Neighborhood Housing Office that is a great resource and starting point to search for off-campus housing.

You may want to consider budgeting about $750.00 per month for rent, utilities, and food in a shared apartment. Other things to consider with living off campus are location, lease, security deposit, transportation to and from the university, parking and food shopping, to name just a few.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I live on-campus or off-campus?
On campus housing allows you to be close to your classes and the UWM community. Dormitories are social places where you can meet many other students. In the United States, first and second year college students (18-20 years old) tend to live on-campus while third and fourth year students tend to live in apartments off-campus or in university apartments. Graduate students usually live off-campus or in Kenilworth Apartments.

Q: Should I arrange housing before I arrive in Milwaukee?
Generally it is a good idea to arrange housing before arriving, especially since rooms in University Housing are sometimes limited. Unless you have a place to live temporarily when you arrive, it can get expensive to stay in a hotel while you find an apartment or a room in an apartment. It's best to start using the Neighborhood Housing Office website to search before arriving.

Q: If I apply to live at Kenilworth Square Apartments, am I able to apply to live at Sandburg, Riverview, or Cambridge Commons in case I am unable to live in Kenilworth?
No. Students applying to live at Kenilworth Square Apartments are not able to simultaneously apply to another residence hall. If a student's application is rejected from the Kenilworth Square Apartments, they may then apply to live at another residence hall.

Q: Is there anywhere for my family to stay on campus, or for me to stay for a short time before or after the semester?

Yes!  Kenilworth Square Apartments has Guest Housing!  More information can be found at Kenilworth Guest Housing