Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications for on campus accommodation

Opening Dates

Semester 1: 1st August, with the first offer round commencing 1st September.
Semester 2: 1st April, with offer round commencing 1st May.

Closing Dates

Semester 1: Last day of Orientation Week.
Semester 2: Last day of Orientation Week.

On-campus accommodation

Do all the JCU campuses have on-campus accommodation?

  • No. On-campus accommodation is currently only available on the Cairns and Townsville campuses.
  • View map of the Townsville campus and locations of accommodation.

How soon do I have to apply for on-campus accommodation?

It is advisable to apply as soon as the applications open (1 August for Semester 1 and 1 April for Semester 2).

How do I apply for on-campus accommodation in Townsville?

  • All applications are submitted online via the Housing Portal.
  • A non-refundable $55.00 application fee must be paid to complete your application. This fee is paid by credit card online. Contact the Contact the Accommodation Service if you do not have, or cannot access a valid credit card.
  • The application process, including a list of documentation/information you will need plus helpful tips on applying.

I want to apply but I don't have a username. What should I do?

Your username is separate from your jc (JCU specific) number. Simply register in the online Housing Portal.

I want to apply but I have not decided which course I want to study yet. What should I enter in that space?

Just enter something in your area of interest as this is not crucial in the accommodation assessment process.

What do I do if I have problems submitting my online application?

Ensure you have thoroughly read the information in the online application portal.

If you are still experiencing problems, contact the JCU Accommodation Service.

How much does living on campus cost?

  • The cost of living on campus varies depending on the residence, the room and the length of the residency contract.
  • Fees are set at the end of each year for the following year and are posted on the web as soon as they become available. For more information, visit Colleges and Halls: Fees and Charges.

Once I apply, am I guaranteed a place to stay on campus?

No. Demand for on-campus accommodation is very high and while the residences do their best to accommodate applicants, some will miss out.

Do the residences give certain students priority?

  • Returning students who are already living on campus will have the first option to return to their room, providing their academic results meet with expectation and their behaviour is exemplary.  It will depend on how many of these students choose to return as to how many vacancies are available for the coming intake.
  • Relatives of current or past students are also given priority placements.
  • Other priority placements include students transferring campuses to complete their current course; remote and regional area students; and students with accessibility requirements, eg. wheelchair.

What is the difference between a Hall and a College?

  • ‘Hall’ or ‘Halls of Residence’ refers to the JCU owned and operated on-campus Halls of Residence, encompassing University Hall, George Roberts Hall, Rotary International House, and Western Courts.
  • ‘College’ refers to the independently managed, church affiliated, on-campus residences, which are The John Flynn College, and Saints Catholic College.

Which college is the best for me?

The college that is best for you is very much an individual choice, as everyone has different needs and preferences.

The online application gives me the option to choose a 'specific' or a 'generic' preference. Which is best?

Choose 'specific' preference, and note why if you want:

  • to live in a particular College or Hall.
  • a certain room type or particular amenities but do not mind which College or Hall you live in.

Can I arrange a tour of the campus/residences?

Yes, by:

Which residence is closest to where I have classes?

All Colleges and Halls are located within an easy walk to the rest of the campus.

To find out how close visit our online maps:

Which is the best residence to stay at if I am studying Medicine?

There is no special residence specific to your studies. The Colleges and Halls like to have a selection of students studying across all disciplines and an International/Domestic student mix.

I want to stay at the quiet/party residence. Which is which?

No residence has a solid reputation of the place to party or the place to study. As students change each intake, the social atmosphere (or lack of) is likely to change with each semester.

All residences prefer their students maintain a strong study focus and will also require that students maintain a certain level of academic achievement in order to be offered a chance to return for the following semester. However, there is also a strong social culture at all residences and students are encouraged to interact and bond with others.

Can I stay on campus for a short time, just until I get settled?

  • Temporary accommodation can be arranged directly with the Colleges and Halls, subject to availability. During the academic study periods, the capacity to offer temporary accommodation is limited, as priority is given to full-time students who sign a residency contract with their respective College or Hall.
  • Students wishing to stay off-campus, who require short-term accommodation in the interim, should arrange to arrive at least one to two weeks prior to Orientation Week.
  • Short stays for block mode subjects and workshops can also be arranged, subject to availability. Refer to Short-term Accommodation for more information.

What is a residency contract?

  • A residency contract is a legally binding agreement between the resident and the College or Hall and is for a set term. Contracts vary in length from one semester (18 weeks) to an academic year (40 weeks), an academic year excluding the mid-year vacation (34 weeks), or a full calendar year (52 weeks).
  • Prices vary from contract to contract and from residence to residence. It is recommended to check with each residence.

If I sign up with one residence, can I leave when I like?

All residences will require that you sign a contract and penalties will apply if you break the contract and leave. This penalty varies between the residences.

What is full board accommodation?

Full board accommodation options provide 3 meals per day. On weekends and public holidays, the Halls serve a brunch which extends throughout the morning. Meal times vary and are clearly displayed at each residence dining hall.

When can I move in and when do I have to move out?

  • This depends on the contract type and residence. It is best to contact the Colleges and Halls directly.
  • As a general rule, students can move into their rooms the weekend before Orientation Week, but this can be negotiated for those doing bridging courses and others who may need to arrive earlier.
  • Students are usually required to vacate their rooms the Sunday after exams finish at the end of the semester or year, depending on their contract type, but again this can be negotiated.

Do all on-campus residences provide meals?

No. Rotary International House is self-catering.

Cairns On-Campus Accommodation is also fully self-catered.

What is self-catering accommodation?

In self-catering accommodation, meals are not provided so students must cater for their own meals. Fully equipped communal kitchens are provided.

How do the residences decide which applications will be successful?

  • Applications are judged on the information you provide in your online application and the extra information you include like results and references. Some colleges also have an interview process.
  • All residences allocate rooms based on achieving a balance of gender, nationality, and discipline of study, and accommodating both new and returning students.
  • Having an application in early in the process will help, but will not guarantee an offer.

When will I find out whether my application is successful?

  • First round offers are made early in September and second round offers mid-December. Often Colleges and Halls will make offers if they have vacancies in between these times. If your application is successful, they will contact you via email or mail.
  • The front page of the Housing Portal provides up-to-date information about when you can expect to hear from the Colleges and Halls.
  • The JCU Accommodation Coordinator also emails applicants advising them about the second round offers and when they will occur.
  • For more information about the process and what happens after you apply visit our accommodation application process.

What if I am not offered a place to stay on campus?

  • Unsuccessful applicants are waitlisted with the residence/s of their preference, to be considered in the event that another student defers, withdraws, or does not accept their offer of a room.
  • It is always advisable to have a backup plan. The JCU Accommodation Service has a large off-campus accommodation database. The listings are managed independently by the advertisers (ie. members of the public), and you will make direct contact with the advertiser to enquire about the accommodation on offer.
  • Other off-campus accommodation options are available.

Why was my application unsuccessful?

Contact the Colleges or Halls you applied for (we always receive more applications than there are rooms available, so it is most likely that the residences filled up and there were no more places to offer).

I paid the $55 application fee but I didn't get an offer to stay on campus or decided not to study at JCU. Can I get my money back?

The application fee is charged for processing and activating your application and is not used as a deposit. As indicated in the online application portal, the fee is non-refundable.

If I am not offered on-campus accommodation, can I re-apply?

You can re-apply the following semester by logging in to the Housing Portal, completing a new application and paying the $55.00 non-refundable application fee, which will give you a new ID number.

Will I have a better chance of getting on-campus accommodation if I have applied before?


If I do get a place to stay on campus, do I have to keep re-applying each year to keep it?

You do not need to re-apply if you wish to continue to stay in the same College or Hall. In this case, you simply advise your residence's Reception office of your intention to stay.

What is a reference?

This is a signed letter from a professional person (referee) recommending you for a job or a character reference. Applicants usually get a reference from their school teacher, school principal, employer, coach or any other professional person. A housemate, landlord or family friend can also provide a reference.

A reference should explain how the referee knows you, in what capacity, and for how long. They should give an insight into your personality, your interests, lifestyle and anything else that may be of interest. A referee can also indicate if there is any special reason you should be looked upon favourably. Note: The referee should not be related to you.

The application requests two written references but I only have one. Is that okay?

The residences ask you to provide two references, however, one will be accepted.

I don't have an accommodation-specific reference. Can I use an existing reference from a teacher/principal/employer/coach?

You may use a character or work/job reference if you do not have a specific accommodation-related reference.

I do not have any written references, but I have given the contact details for a referee. Is that enough?

The residences ask for written references because they do not have the time to contact all individual referees.  An application without written references will still be accepted, processed and considered, but not providing them may be detrimental to the success of your application.

If I am an International student do I need to send my results and references?

No. Your Visa application paperwork is sufficient.

I have entered my results into the online application.  Do I still need to include a written copy? What results should I include?

The residences ask for written copies of your results because they are usually more extensive, sometimes with comments from your teacher, and offer an official record of your achievements. An application without written references attached will still be accepted, processed and considered but not provide them may be detrimental to the success of your application.

For Queensland students, a Senior Exit Statement is ideal. For other States, including a report that shows the above information.

What if I am offered my second preference College/Hall but would rather have my first preference?

Whilst the Colleges and Halls do their best to accommodate all applicants, there is no guarantee of receiving an offer from the College or Hall of your first preference due to limited availability and the number of students who apply to live on campus.

It is advisable to be certain about your preferences and how you list them when you submit your application. Changing preferences later may cause confusion and could result in you missing out on an offer.

What do I do if I don't like the residence I am in? Can I move to another one? Will I have to re-apply?

  • Acceptance of accommodation requires you to sign a residency contract, which is legally binding. Due to the high demand for on-campus accommodation, it is recommended that you nominate which College or Hall you specifically wish to live in. Any special requirements should be noted in the online application or by phoning the individual College or Hall.
  • If you are in one of the private colleges (Saints Catholic College or The John Flynn College), you will have to re-apply as each of these colleges operates independently.
  • If you are in any of the Halls of Residence (University Hall, George Roberts Hall, Western Courts or Rotary International House) you can request to be moved and you will not need to re-apply.
  • Your request may be granted if vacancies exist.

If the Colleges have a religious affiliation, do I have to attend a service/chapel/pray to attend?

Whilst religious support is provided, participation is optional. Residents from all Colleges and Halls are able to participate at different residences as desired.

Does any residence have separate male/female floors?

Note: If this is your preference, it is recommended that you nominate this on your application or contact the college directly.

Does any residence have air conditioning?

Does any residence offer an ensuite?

Which residence caters for special dietary requirements? (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten/lactose intolerance, etc.)

Most dietary requirements can be catered for. You will need to discuss your needs with the Principal / Coordinator of Residential Life or Catering Manager.

Does any residence have a designated study and computer room?

All residences have a computer room with a limited number of computers available for residents’ use. It is recommended that you bring your own computer or purchase a computer locally once you arrive.  Printing options vary between the Colleges and Halls.

What linen is provided by residences and what do they wash?

  • The Halls of Residence provide a mattress protector and bedspread.  Students must provide and launder their own linen.  Linen packs can be purchased from the Halls upon arrival.
  • The John Flynn College provides sheets, a mattress protector and bedspread.  Linen is laundered weekly.
  • All students must provide and wash their own towels.  Laundry facilities are located on-site and usage charges apply.

Is there car parking on site at the residences?

Car parking areas are provided and all residents’ vehicles must be registered at each office on arrival.

Is there a lockable bike enclosure or somewhere safe for bicycles to be stored at any residence?

  • Bike racks are provided on both Townsville and Cairns campuses.
  • In Townsville, there is a lockable Community Bike Shed near the Library.  Apply for an access card to enter the Shed via the JCU Bicycle Users Group (JCU BUG).
  • Saints Catholic College also offers a lockable area for bicycles.

Note: It is recommended that you engrave your bike and bring a bike chain and lock for security. Keep a record of your bike’s physical details (including a photo) in the case of damage or loss.

What happens with my room and rent when I am on holidays or semester breaks?

Contact the Colleges and Halls directly for details.

Can I have visitors stay in my room here, say if my Dad wants to visit me?

  • At the Halls of Residence guests are welcome to stay overnight, provided it is for a limited time and you complete a Request for Overnight Guest form for approval. Limited spare mattresses or trundle beds are available. Charges apply for stays of 2-5 nights and, if approved, longer stays will incur casual guest rates.
  • At the Colleges, you will need to check directly with college staff for further details.

Can I have a bar fridge or microwave in my room?

A bar fridge is acceptable in your room. An extra charge may be required for the cost of electricity. Compliance with Fire Safety Regulations does not allow a microwave, as cooking is not permitted in any student room.

Can I have a fish tank/aquarium in my room?

A small fish tank is acceptable at some Halls and Colleges. No other pets are permitted on campus.

Is there a time when the residence shuts down/locks down at the end of the night?

All doors are locked overnight, but the time they shut will vary. Students are able to access their individual rooms at all hours.

Does any residence have a social club or a group that organises events and gatherings for students?  How do I join?

Each college has their own Resident Student Association (RSA) that organises events and social outings. Membership fees are often included in fees paid at the beginning of the year. There are various sporting and cultural events, including eleven sports within the Fisher Shield and various categories in the Inter-College Concert.

Is there any residence that has a special program for music, art, drama, sport and/or first-year students or those studying a specific subject?

No.  Each residence has a mix of students with varied backgrounds, interests, ages and courses.

Can I get an accommodation scholarship with this residence?

  • Most residences offer student bursaries. Further information on these can be obtained directly from the residences involved.
  • Additional bursaries and scholarships are available through JCU.

Is there any other financial assistance available?

  • Townsville on-campus residences may offer discounts for up-front payments or for multiple family members (there is a field in the online application where you can enter this information).
  • In some cases, Commonwealth government scholarships can assist with relocation and accommodation costs.

Does the Accommodation Service have anything to do with ABSTUDY / AUSTUDY or similar payments?

No, you should contact Centrelink.

Can my friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/sister/brother/cousin live in the room next door to me?

Rooms are allocated by each residence administration office.  Preferences can be taken into consideration, but are never guaranteed. You should contact the Hall or College directly for requests.

Can my partner, husband or wife live with me in my room?


As a concerned parent, what security is in place at the residences to ensure my son/daughter is safe?

Professional Security personnel patrol the residences on a regular basis.  It is their responsibility to assist students with late night problems and to ensure that residences policies are being adhered to, as well as maintaining security within the residences.  Parents can rest assured that residents can contact someone from the Pastoral team or a Security Officer for help at any time of the day or night. This creates a safe and secure environment for our residents and peace of mind for parents.

Off-campus accommodation

How can I find off-campus accommodation in Townsville, Cairns or Singapore?

Refer to the Off-Campus Accommodation link on the Accommodation home page.

Do you have a list of real estate agents who can help me find off-campus accommodation in Townsville and Cairns? or allow you to search for real estate agents by city and suburb.

Where can I get information about renting such as leases, bond, repairs, my rights as a tenant, etc.?

Refer to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website.

I am having problems with my landlord. Where can I get advice?

Refer to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website.

I am trying to list my accommodation on the Off-Campus database but it won’t accept the bond amount. Help!

Enter the bond amount without the $ sign and it should work. If you are still experiencing problems, contact the JCU Accommodation Service.

General JCU information

What is a calendar year and what is an academic year?

  • A Calendar year ranges from 1 January through to 31 December.
  • An Academic year comprises first semester (February – July), a break, then second semester (August – November), as well as other study periods. Find more information on JCU Calendar and Timetables.

Are there shops on campus?

  • Townsville - There is a small store on campus. A shopping centre is located approximately 1 kilometre from the university campus, and the larger Stockland Shopping Centre is approximately 2 kilometres away.
  • Cairns – The Campus Shopping Village, located 400 metres from the University, includes an IGA Supermarket, medical centre, pharmacy, video store, bottle shop and food outlets. The larger Smithfield Shopping Centre is located approximately 1 K from the campus.

How do I get around campus?

  • While JCU's Townsville campus appears quite spread out, you can walk from one side to the other in about 15 minutes.
  • Most students walk while others use bicycles, though scooters are becoming a popular and economical method of transport.
  • A local bus service which regularly services the Townsville and Cairns campuses and visits local shopping centres, the city and beaches.

How do I get to campus?

Sunbus provides a regular bus service to and from the campus, city and suburbs in both Townsville and Cairns.  Buses run approximately every 30 minutes. Timetables are available from the JCU Student Association or from the Sunbus website.

Is parking available on campus?

Yes, there is free parking and permit parking. Student parking permits may be purchased from the JCU Bookshop by completing the appropriate form and paying the fee. Permit parking is a little bit closer to the buildings than free parking.

Is Wireless internet available on campus?

Wireless is available on campus in Townsville and Cairns. The IT helpdesk (phone 4781 5500) will assist in connecting you to the network.