As the spring semester comes to a close, Florida A&M students have begun applying for on-campus housing for the fall 2023 semester. Unfortunately, yet again, upperclassmen need help to secure housing due to the increase in enrollment.
Although the university has recently purchased off-campus housing that will hold up to 118 students, it still cannot sustain the number of students requesting to stay on campus.
Fourth-year biology pre-medicine student Kiarah Richards expressed her frustration with housing which almost resulted in her transfering to another university.
“The issue started with financial aid not processing my payment, so I ended up having a balance and couldn’t apply for housing online. I had to wake up early to fill out a paper application and get waitlisted,” Richards said. “All the apartments have annual leases, and I’m only here for one more semester, so it’s been very stressful. It was almost to the point where I would transfer out for the semester if I didn’t get housing on time. Thankfully, I found an off-campus apartment today and signed my lease.”
Students were advised to apply for housing early yet are still waitlisted even after being one of the first people in line.
Current Polkinghorne Village resident McKenzie Fair still needs to secure housing and feels she is running out of options.
“I applied for housing the day that it opened within the first 30 minutes, and yet I was still waitlisted, and in my waitlist email, it stated that housing spaces were given in the order that they were received; however, I have friends that turned in paper applications two days prior, and they have housing assignments, and I do not,” Fair said.
While administrators in the housing office are supposed to be helpful, some have failed to assist students.
“I called to let them know my situation explaining to them that I do not drive, and I work for the university, and I only need housing for four more months in the fall semester, and I was told to ‘go seek counseling’ because of the distress in my voice,” Fair said.
Director of university housing Jennifer Wilder says the university is doing its best to accommodate students to prevent a future housing crisis like the one that occurred last year.
“Based on feedback from last year, housing changed the housing application process to have separate time frames for newly enrolled and returning students to apply for housing. There are separate spaces designated for newly enrolled students and returning students. The portal opened for newly enrolled students on December 1, 2022, to allow those early-decision students the opportunity to secure their housing. The portal for returning students opened on February 1, 2023, and subsequently closed on March 8, 2023, because the response exceeded our capacity. The Housing office continues to work to accommodate as many students on the waitlist as possible. The notification was provided much earlier than last year. The notification went out in March instead of June and July, giving students more time to make alternative arrangements. Working with OSA, the off-campus housing website is up and running, email@example.com,” Wilder said.
Wilder also says that housing issues are not entirely the university’s fault and are happening at other universities.
Wilder says that the university plans to build three new residential facilities tentatively scheduled, which include a 500-bed and 700-bed residence hall in Fall 2025 and an 800-bed apartment complex in Fall 2026.