Welcome to on-campus living at Penn State Altoona, located in beautiful central Pennsylvania and only 45 minutes from University Park.
Whether you plan to finish your degree here or move on to University Park or one of Penn State's 19 other campuses, you'll love the close-knit community, award-winning faculty, and opportunities for leadership and athletic participation at Altoona.
With an on-campus population of just over 900 students, on-campus living at Altoona adds to the student experience and provides more opportunities for involvement and leadership. Housing, Food Services, and Residence Life are thrilled to provide the convenience, engagement, and unmatched "We Are" spirit to those who choose to LiveOn at Penn State Altoona!
Where to Live
Where to Eat
Incoming first-year and transfer students, we can't wait to welcome you to Penn State.
Current students, explore your options and sign up for space next year.
News & Announcements
Penn State students donate almost $30,000 to 'Swipe Out Hunger'
During Earth Week this past April, Penn State students raised almost $30,000 for the Student Emergency Fund by donating extra dining dollars from their campus meal plans.
Penn State launching new id+ card with updated design, enhanced digital features
Penn State is launching a new id+ card to advance the University’s digital campus initiative in support of One Penn State 2025. The new campus card will have an updated design and several new contactless features that create a user-friendly digital experience for the Penn State community.
Penn State students can help 'Swipe Out Hunger' during Earth Week
All Penn State residential campuses will host Swipe Out Hunger in conjunction with Earth Week 2022. During the week of April 18-22, students have the option to donate $5, $10, or $15 to the Student Emergency Fund when they pay for their meal at any residential dining facility or through a Penn State Eats mobile order.
Covid Test Kits Known Address Issue - UPDATED
USPS reports COVID-19 test kit online ordering address issues for residential complexes. Filing a service request with USPS may help.
Students, faculty and staff encouraged to test before returning to on-campus classes, work
“I urge all of our students to order a free, mail-in Vault Health test kit to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus so that they can isolate at home if they are COVID-19 positive. Any student or employee can currently order up to 12 Vault Health kits for at-home use,” said Kelly Wolgast, director of the COCC. I want to emphasize that students at all campus locations can take action now to order a test and complete it next week to know their health status before returning to campus.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a space and accept the HFS Contract?
Current students who receive an email with the invitation offer:
- If you receive an invitation, log on to www.eLiving.psu.edu and select “View Invitation” under My Contracts.
- Select your invitation to view all housing options. Not all options may be available based on when you are invited into the process.
- Select the housing option you desire and click ‘Continue’.
- Add a friend’s Penn State Access ID who you want to receive a Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract offer and click ‘Continue’. It's not required to add a friend, and not all housing options allow for a roommate.
- Review your selection and click ‘Create Contract’ to be offered the HFS Contract for your selected housing option.
- If a roommate was listed, this student will also be offered the HFS Contract.
- To accept the HFS Contract offer, select the Shopping Cart icon and view the offer.
- Click the ‘Begin Acceptance Process’ button to view and read the HFS Contract and Terms, Conditions, and Regulations (TCRs). Check mark the box to indicate that you have read and agree to abide by the TCRs. Type your name to electronically sign the HFS Contract. Click the ‘Accept Contract’ button. All done!
You are not obligated to live on campus until you accept the HFS Contract; once accepted, the HFS Contract cannot be cancelled (unless you are no longer enrolled at Penn State).
What is Online Room Selection?
Online Room Selection (or self-assigning) is an option for current students and select first-year groups to log on to eLiving and choose the specific room in which they'd like to live. This option may not be offered to all groups or at every campus; students who are not able to participate in Online Room Selection enter contract preferences and are assigned by staff.
Timelines for Online Room Selection vary but usually occur in mid-spring for the fall semester. A second selection period may be offered in early summer if additional housing options become available.
Students who are able to participate in Online Room Selection will receive an email reminder with more detailed instructions before their selection period begins. Selection periods are also found in the Contract Summary in eLiving and posted online.
Are incoming first-year students eligible to Request Housing in eLiving?
No, the Request Housing process in eLiving is specific to current first-year and upperclass students. Incoming first-year and transfer students can choose on-campus housing, if available, when they accept their offer of admission through MyPennState or can add their name to the On-Campus Housing Waitlist afterward. Find out more information about the incoming first-year process.
I accepted an HFS Contract, but I want to live in another housing option. What can I do?
If you are interested in another housing option, you can add your name to one Housing Option Waitlist in eLiving once they are available. Adding your name to a Waitlist does not guarantee that you’ll be reassigned to that housing option. Waitlists may not be available for all housing options.
What is a Waitlist?
There are two types of Waitlists:
- "On-Campus Housing Waitlist" is for students who did not participate in the Request Process and want to live on campus
- "Housing Option Waitlists" display after a student accepts a HFS Contract and is interested in another housing option (such as a Living Learning Community, single room, etc.)
When you log on to eLiving and choose Waitlist from the Contracts menu, you will see the appropriate Waitlists based on your campus and contract status.
Students who have an accepted HFS Contract are eligible to enter only one Housing Option Waitlist. As staff processes cancellations and vacancies occur, we will move students from the Waitlist into that specific housing option.
For example: I have an accepted double room, traditional residence hall HFS Contract. I’m interested in a suite, so I add my name to the "Nittany Hall Suites Waitlist". When a suite is available for me, staff will move me to a suite option. If online room selection is available to me, I'll be able to choose a suite instead of a traditional residence hall.
You can remove your name from a Waitlist at any time by unchecking the box of the Waitlist you'd previously selected.
Food Allergies / Special Diets
Are gluten free options available on campus?
Yes, numerous gluten-free options are available at each of the five dining commons locations. The online menu is a great resource for determining whether menu items align with a gluten-free diet. Allergens found in menu items are indicated on the online menu as well as on entree cards at the point of service. The top eight allergens, which includes gluten, are represented by individual icons on entree cards if found within a menu item.
Additionally, each dining commons offers a variety of supplemental, gluten-free items such as breads, pastas, cereals, snacks, and pizza. For more information, please visit the Gluten Free page and contact the Registered Dietitians Office through [email protected].
Are there vegetarian/vegan options available?
Yes, Meatless and Vegan options are served daily in all five of the dining commons. Each all-you-care-to-eat area offers a vegan entree, soup, and varying side dishes for each meal. Salad bars also offer vegan proteins such as tofu, beans, and quinoa. For more information, please visit the Allergies & Special Diets page.
Do upperclass students also live on campus?
Yes! All residential campuses welcome students to live on campus beyond their first year. Many students find the greatest convenience is saving time – to and from classes, activities, events, clubs/organizations, recreation and study, meetings, common and green spaces, dining, bookstore, project collaboration, faculty offices, and so much more! We do have space for you to #LiveOn. There are also many Living Learning Communities (LLCs) created especially for you!
Students will need to Request Housing during the housing process timeline.
When can I request housing?
For the 2021-2022 academic year, students can Request Housing beginning October 15 through at least January 31. The Request Period will be extended if upperclass space is still available.
How do I check my meal plan balance?
Students can check their meal plan balance online at idcard.psu.edu/manage-accounts. Available balances are also displayed at Campus Dining registers and on receipts, but understand that the registers display a combined meal plan and LionCash account balance.
The Campus Meal Plan level can be managed on eLiving, under "My Info" < My Meal Plan, through the last day of finals for the semester. The system will display whether the student's account is eligible to be increased or decreased.
If funds are running low, friends and family can add dining dollars or LionCash, too.
How does my meal plan work?
The Campus Meal Plan provides easy purchasing and savings for students who regularly eat meals on campus.
The Campus Meal Plan account is accessed via your Penn State id+ Card. Each time you visit a dining facility operated by Penn State Housing and Food Services, simply present your id+ card to the cashier, who will swipe the card through a reader. The reader will access your account, deduct the proper purchase amount, and display your new account balance.
Is the meal plan required, can I cancel it?
The Campus Meal Plan is required for students living on campus, with the exception of those living in on-campus apartments, where it is optional. For students required to purchase a Campus Meal Plan, it must be purchased for each semester and cannot be canceled.
The Commuter Meal Plan is available for on-campus apartment residents and commuting students; it is not required. Students interested in making changes to a Commuter Meal Plan should contact their campus Housing and Food Services Office or for University Park, the id+ Office.
Students who withdraw or end their relationship with the University after the semester has started may be eligible for a refund of remaining dining dollars and, for the Campus Meal Plan, a prorated refund of the base cost, within the timeframe outlined in the HFS Contract Terms, Conditions, and Regulations. Any refund will be credited to the student's LionPATH account or to the credit card used to purchase the meal plan.
The meal plan cannot be transferred or assigned to another individual.
What are the different meal plan discounts?
Campus Meal Plan account holders have access to the greatest discounts in on-campus dining:
- 65 percent off cash price at Buffet-to-Go and All-You-Care-to-Eat locations
- 65 percent off cash price on prepared items* at food courts
- 10 percent off campus price on prepared items* at specialty fast casual operations, such as Soup & Garden, Grate Chee, and Blue Burrito in the HUB, Bruno's at Behrend, the Outpost at Harrisburg, and coffee shops at campus locations
The Commuter Meal Plan and LionCash offer a 10 percent discount off cash price on the items and locations listed above. Additional LionCash discounts may be available at off-campus participating locations.
*prepared items are meals, snacks, and beverages that are made by Campus Dining staff. This excludes menu items at nationally branded restaurants and cafes.
What happens to my leftover meal plan funds?
Campus Meal Plan
Dining Dollars remaining at the end of summer session are carried over to fall semester, and Dining Dollars remaining at the end of fall semester are carried over to spring semester, provided the student has an active Campus Meal Plan for the fall and spring semester, respectfully. Dining Dollars remaining at the end of the spring semester are forfeited. Students have the ability to manage their Campus Meal Plan through eLiving until the last day of the semester.
Students living on campus are required to purchase a Campus Meal Plan each semester.
When a student accepts the HFS Contract, the Campus Meal Plan will default to level 2. The Campus Meal Plan level can be managed on eLiving, under "My Info" < My Meal Plan, through the last day of finals for the semester. The system will display whether the student's account is eligible to be increased or decreased.
If dining dollar funds are running low, you can also add funds to LionCash. Current Campus Meal Plan account holders have the benefit of utilizing LionCash funds to backfill your Campus Meal Plan and receive the same discounted rate as the meal plan. Students simply tell the cashier that they have a campus meal plan and the appropriate discount will be applied.
Commuter Meal Plan
Commuter Meal Plan funds carry over from fall to spring regardless of whether a spring commuter meal plan has been purchased.
LionCash never expires and is available until you are no longer registered as a Penn State student.
What meal plan options are available?
We offer three different meal plan options: Campus Meal Plan, Commuter Meal Plan, or LionCash funds. Review our meal plan comparison to choose the plan that best suits your needs.
Where can I use my meal plan?
Campus Meal Plan dining dollars can be used at ALL Campus Dining locations any Penn State Campus*, as well as at popular destinations at University Park such as Beaver Stadium, Bryce Jordan Center, Pegula Ice Arena, and Berkey Creamery.
Commuter Meal Plans can be used at ALL Campus Dining locations any Penn State Campus*.
LionCash can be used at ALL Campus Dining locations any Penn State Campus* and any participating merchant throughout Pennsylvania.
*Penn State Campuses offering Campus Dining locations: Abington, Altoona, Beaver, Berks, Behrend, Brandywine, Dubois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Scranton, Shenango, University Park, Wilkes-Barre, and York