Vacant rooms in on-campus housing on Florida A&M University’s campus have sparked disappointment and questions from denied student applicants.
FAMU has struggled in recent years to provide enough on-campus housing for both incoming and returning students. To combat this issue, FAMU purchased Citivue and Brooklyn Yards, now Rattler Pointe, last fall, adding 234 beds to the inventory of university housing. These new units offer another housing option for juniors, seniors and graduate students, and are equipped with full-size kitchens, in-unit washer and dryers and private bed and bathrooms.
Unfortunately, the destruction of older dormitories, such as the PaddyFoote complex and Gibbs Hall, plus increasing enrollment, has not made it easier for the university to keep up with the continuously growing demand for on-campus housing. Even with the newly acquired buildings, it is still not enough to allocate a bed for each applicant, leaving the majority of applicants on a waitlist.
Jennifer Wilder, director of the Office of University Housing, says that this is an ongoing issue for the university.
“Yes, there has been a waitlist every year,” Wilder said. “The issue is we have more returners wanting to stay on campus than we have previously. Before, students were eager to move off campus after their first or second year, which left more space available to incoming students.”
Many students anticipate getting their preferred housing selection upon FAMU’s portal opening, but selections come on a first come, first serve basis. The department’s newly implemented process provides separate application periods for incoming and returning students. Wilder said that this process allows for the computer to allocate a specified amount of spaces for incoming students and returning students.
Those who didn’t act quick enough were subject to the waitlist, even those who applied the day of the portal’s opening.
“Over 1,000 students applied for housing the first day, but we did not have that many available beds to assign,” Wilder said.
Kennedy Carroll, a third-year business administration major at Florida A&M, was one of more than 1,000 students denied housing, including two of her friends. She said that the denial of student housing caused her a number of setbacks and stress, prior to coming back to campus.
“I sent in my application within the first ten minutes of the portal opening and I immediately received a waitlist message, with no reasoning as to why I was denied,” Carroll said. “I initially applied for on-campus housing due to its easy access to classes and I didn’t have a car at the time.
“Since my friends and I all applied for Rattler’s Pointe and got denied, we all had to struggle to find last-minute housing in Tallahassee,” Carroll added. “I even had to purchase a car just to have transportation to and from school.”
Wilder said students were denied housing due to there being no availability at the time of the student’s application. The waitlist is used to put students next in line upon availability.
“The only reason we currently have several vacancies in all our halls is because people canceled or did not show up for move-in,” she said. “In addition, as the university goes through the late registration/drop-add process, there may be other students who will have to leave because they cannot get registered.”
On Friday, FAMUINFO sent out a university-wide announcement stating that university housing will be accepting applications for Fall 2023-Spring 2024, through Sept. 18.
Students still seeking on-campus housing for fall 2023-spring 2024 can submit a paper application in the main housing office located in the CASS Building.