Questions about HFS?

Many students have questions about HFS budgeting. What do my housing payments go towards? Why are rates the way they are? It is important for students to understand the answers to these questions. This site is a quick intro to HFS budgeting!

HFS: Auxiliary and Self-Sustaining

HFS is an independent department of the University of Washington. It must follow all University policies and help offset administrative overhead, but it receives no support for it's operations. That means it must keep a close eye on where money is going, because there's nobody to bail them out if funds run out!

So, what does this mean for you?

  • HFS receives no direct funding for its operations from the UW budget.
  • HFS operations are funded through housing payments and food sales.
  • HFS operates as not-for-profit. Any revenue in excess of operational costs is rolled into reserves to fund operational and infrastructure improvements, or to mitigate housing and food costs to students.
  • HFS residents pay the lowest average amount for dining services of any university in Washington.
  • HFS is one of the largest employers of students on the UW campus, with about 900 student-employees.

Common Questions

What distinguishes HFS from off-campus housing?

Since HFS is part of the University of Washington, everything it does supports the University's mission by contributing to student success. Students living on-campus have access to many great resources that are simply not possible in off-campus housing.

So, what does this mean for you?

  • Resident Advisors living alongside students in the halls serve as a resource for social and academic matters.
  • Residents follow a set of Community Standards to ensure students live in an environment where they can study well and live well.
  • Residents have access to leadership opportunities such as Hall Council, RCSA, the Dining Advisory Board, and the BAC.
  • Students are able to cancel their housing agreement without charge for academic purposes such as study abroad.
  • HFS hires students to give them opportunities to earn money and learn through work experience.

Why do I have to have a meal plan?

HFS operates 37 locations around campus and requires meal plans for most 9-month residents. Why?

  • To ensure students have access to healthy and convenient dining services.
  • To support students transitioning into college life.
  • To enable students to adequately plan and pay for food.

Why does HFS have a retail dining model?

The retail dining model gives students a variety of food options including meeting special dietary needs, flexibility in times of operations, and portability in providing locations to use the dining plan on-campus.

The University of Washington operates its own dining program as opposed to hiring a private contractor. What does this mean for you?

  • The dining program operates to satisfy University needs, not investor needs.
  • HFS can more easily hire students and involve academic departments to due proximity and relationships.
  • Internal operations can be more flexible, reacting faster to concerns and requests.

The Numbers: 17-18 Budget

Total Revenue


Other Revenue

Tap any section of the revenue charts to read more info here!

Total Expenses


Operating Expenses

Tap any section of the expenses charts to read more info here!

Housing Revenues and Expenses

Tap any section of the housing charts to read more info here!

Dining Revenues and Expenses

Coming soon...

The Numbers: More Info

Rates Over Time

Coming soon...

UW Compared to Pac-12

Coming soon...

Next Steps

Now that you understand the structure of HFS, have answers to common questions, and have seen the actual operating numbers, what can you do next?

Got More Questions?

If your specific question wasn't answered here, let us know! We'd be happy to answer your questions and add them to this resource. Contact Andrey Butenko:

Want to Be Involved?

The University of Washington has many opportunities for students to be involved in budgeting! Just some of these include:

  • RCSA: Works with students on any matter related to their residental communities. Learn more.
  • BAC: Learn extensively about HFS budget and help facilitate rate-setting for next year. Learn more.