Scholarship foundation lowers on-campus housing price tag

Florida A&M University students have a chance to save thousands of dollars for on-campus housing through the Southern Scholarship Foundation.

The SSF Web site states that for five decades SSF has provided living accommodations at economical rates to deserving students with limited financial means. The Web site also states that since 1998 FAMU residents have maintained this peaceful atmosphere that is beneficial for academic studies.  Residents are encouraged to strive to live cooperatively while sharing the responsibilities of maintaining house facilities. 

“Students are unaware of this opportunity that helps build character and leadership skills,” said Clarissa Clark, 23, Florida Retail Scholarship House Head Resident from Orlando.

Clark said students could save plenty of money by living in a scholarship house.

She explained that FAMU on-campus housing rates range from $1,500 to $2,300 per semester. Students with a meal plan pay up to $1,700 per semester in addition to the cost of housing.  The average cost for room and board on a Florida college campus is $6,700 – 7,000 per year.

Through the SSF program, the average cost to the student is approximately $800 – $850 per semester, which is pooled to cover food and utilities for the house, thus reducing each student’s expenses by approximately $6,000 per year.

Although the price of staying on campus is cheaper if living in a scholarship house, students must be eligible to apply.

The SSF Web site explains that applicants must have a 3.0 grade point average coming out of high school or a 2.85 GPA in college. Each facility houses 17 students, six of which are assigned as officers while the remaining 11 are assigned other specific jobs. 

Clark explained that residents vote officers in or the officers are selected by the Head Resident. 

The selection process is according to the level of responsibility and ability to fulfill position duties, Clark said.

Clark also explained the duties of the officers. 

The Head Resident is an SSF employee and is held accountable for all that goes on within the house. The president presides over mandatory monthly house meetings and house management, while the vice president oversees the work job duties. The treasurer is chosen by the Head Resident to generate and post the semester house bill.  Business managers are assigned to choose a set day to go grocery shopping and plan and post weekly menus and resident wish lists.

Francine Roberts, 23, a senior healthcare management student from Orlando said, “Developing sisterhood has been a great experience.  Although the fines for not performing assigned tasks and following house rules are steep, the experience is priceless.”  

Today SSF owns a total of 25 scholarship houses: 13 at Florida State University, three at FAMU located on 322 Stadium Drive, eight at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and one at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.

SSF currently houses 419 students and has assisted more than 8,000 deserving students over the past half-century, its Web site states.  There are openings available for current and prospective students for the fall 2008 semester.