Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University saw an increase of incoming freshman class applications and admissions for the 2017-2018 school year. The boom in enrollment hit university housing hard.
FAMU’s current open facilities include FAMU Village, Sampson, Young, Gibbs, Paddyfoote, Truth, Palmetto South and Phase III Apartments. FAMU also tried to reopen the previously closed Palmetto North on-campus apartments by making renovations, however, it still did not provide the success that they were looking for.
The overcapacity sent many freshman, who are traditionally mandated to live on campus during their first year of college, to live in off-campus housing. The university referred students to nearby apartment complexes like College Club Townhomes.
“The influx of students is causing us to make adjustments,” said Staycy Mortimer, a current leasing agent at College Club. “But, we are opening our doors to as many people that we can while we still have space.”
A 2017 study from San Diego State University shows that residential students averaged a 2.81 GPA, while off-campus students averaged a 2.38. Additionally, 30 percent of students living off campus were placed on academic probation, compared to 14 percent of residential students.
Tia Bolden, the Resident Director of FAMU Paddyfote's all-girl facility, commented on how she felt about students living off campus.
“They miss the college experience of living in residence halls, having a roommate, learning to live with others and learning to adapt. I feel that living off campus is somewhat of an upperclassman commodity, and it comes with a maturity factor because having your own apartment is a big step.”
Bolden said if it weren’t for the situation housing is in, she wouldn’t encourage any freshman to live off campus.
The transportation issue campus is also a main concern for both students and parents. Yet, Breaunee Price, a freshman Pre-Pharmacy student from Jacksonville, Fla., believes that transportation is not the main concern since some freshmen have their own transportation.
“The freshman that I know that live off campus actually like it, mainly because they have cars,” said Price. They are able to still get to and from campus in a timely manner without feeling like they are missing out on too much campus life."
As the school year continues, FAMU Housing hopes to accommodate the students who live off campus as best as they can.