Housing options

If you do not live in the Madison area, a priority of yours is to find housing for the duration of your stay.

You will find that there are many housing options on or near campus, such as University Housing, private housing, subletting, co-ops, and more. 


Space permitting, you can apply for on-campus housing in a UW-Madison University Residence Hall. In fall and spring terms, on-campus housing is in very high demand so nondegree students are typically not able to secure spots.  


The UW-Madison Campus Area Housing Listing Service (CAHLS) office is a free resource for students seeking off-campus housing.  The CAHLS office maintains a consolidated and free searchable list of campus area rental vacancies, sublets, and roommate openings in apartments, houses, and Private Housing Connections properties.

Housing search tips:

    Housing locations
  • Location - We suggest limiting your search to housing that is in sections 1-6 and section 9. As a fee-paying student, you will receive a bus pass that can be used anywhere Madison Metro buses go; so, if you can’t find housing on campus, look for housing off campus that is near a bus stop.
  • Furnished apartments - Since you will be here for short–term study, consider options that provide furnishings or are semi-furnished. Furnishings can include bed, desk, lamp, and chairs. Check with your landlord before signing a lease to find out what is included.
  • Renter’s insurance - Consider purchasing renter's insurance for your time here in the US. It is available from numerous insurance companies; renter's insurance policies are inexpensive and can cover personal items in cases of fire, theft or other disasters.
  • Roomate matching service
  • Roommate matching - Some management companies provide a roommate matching service. Check with the management company to see if they provide this service.

Temporary Housing

If you arrive in Madison and are still looking for permanent housing or if you are not yet able to move into your housing, there are some temporary housing options available to you.

Campus temporary housing - Accommodations on campus available on a very short-term basis for students and guests attending university-related functions. 

Madison-area accommodations - Off-campus temporary accommodations consisting mostly of area hotels and motels. 

For international students: Madison Friends of International Students (MFIS) offers free temporary housing with breakfast for up to three nights through their system of community volunteers. Because MFIS housing is limited, we recommend that you do not use this service if you already have a place to stay when you arrive. You may not know of your temporary housing contact until a week or less prior to your arrival. If you have not heard from MFIS three days before your departure date, please contact them directly.

Before you sign a lease

Ask for photos

Before signing the lease, make sure you understand what you as a renter are responsible for, such as security deposit, damages, and other items that are not included in the rent, like heating, internet, electricity, and water.

Ask questions about anything you don't understand and feel free to ask for photographs of accommodations.


For more information on housing options and resource guides, please visit the Housing for Visiting International Students Web site.