Tips for International Students at Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University

Originally located on a frontier military outpost in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University was founded in 1902 and is still partly located on a portion of the former military reservation from the fort. The public co-educational university has around 11,200 students attending at the 200 acre campus.

The university’s Forsyth library has a large collection of fiction and non-fiction on the American West and frontier life and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History houses interactive natural science exhibitions and over 100,000 square feet of dinosaurs, fossils, and prehistoric animals from over 70-90 million years ago.

Where to stay

 1. On campus

There are various options for first year students who wish to live on campus, and in your first year at university, this is the easiest and most convenient option as you’ll be close to everything.

McMindes Hall provides housing for 620 students in rooms with private pod-style bathrooms and showers, and has an on-campus dining facility. Other options include Stadium Place apartments, Tiger Hall, Wiest Hall, and the family-friendly Wooster Place. You can research all types of campus living here.

2. Off-campus housing

If you want to live off campus you can search for an apartment in the areas close to the university in the city of Hays. Living off campus grounds could be cheaper and give you a bit more freedom. You can start your search at or

3. Homestay

Living in a homestay can work out a lot cheaper than living on campus and the experience will be helpful to your English language skills. For a monthly fee, you’ll get a set number of meals per day, a private room and bathroom, and access to laundry facilities. It’s also a great way to get to know the American culture.

Getting around

1. Tiger Transport

The free Tiger Transport van will take you from Wiest Hall to the Mall and Wal-Mart and back and runs every half hour from 2pm-7pm Wednesday to Friday and 2pm-9pm on Saturday.

2. Shuttle bus

The campus is small and the city only has 20,000 people so it’s easy enough to get around on foot or on a bicycle. The university provides a shuttle service for a small fee to take you to and from campus.

3. Biking it

Fort Hays State University has a bike-sharing scheme called ‘’Take a Bike/Leave a Bike’’  where you can use designated bicycles parked at bike racks for free anytime to get around campus. You’ll recognize these bikes as they are painted blue and gold with an orange flyer and basket.


1. Campus dining

All freshmen and sophomores living on campus must participate in a meal plan at Fort Hays State but there are various options to choose from based on your budget and schedule.

You can use your meal plan at various locations, including Outtakes Snack bar, Starbucks, the Union Station, McMindes Cafeteria, and Mondo’s Subs.

2. Eating out

Hays is the cultural center of Kansas and you’ll find plenty of cafés, restaurants, steakhouses, diners, and bars. For a budget-friendly dinner try Gella’s Diner and Lb Brewing Co, where the service is rumored to be excellent, and if you’re over 21, you can grab a nice cold beer from their extensive selection.

For coffee enthusiasts, there’s Union Station on Vine Street or for something more substantial, try TK’s Smokehouse for a BBQ or steak.

3. Grocery shopping

One of the best ways to save cash as a student is to cook your own meals. There is lots of choice when it comes to grocery shopping in Hays, such as Dillon’s Grocery Stores, Schwan’s Food Co and you can take the free Tiger Transport to the large Walmart Store.

Good luck! And don’t forget to download our free guide for international students in the US below.

Download our International Student Guide to Studying in USA

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