UNF is trying to work with students who need housing before semester starts

The University of North Florida is now working with students who need housing for the fall semester.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University of North Florida is now working with students who need housing for the fall semester. We told you Monday that UNF has a waitlist of nearly 300 people hoping for on-campus housing with the start of classes less than a week away.

The university says this is a national issue, and that they are now doing several things to help students.

Tuesday, a UNF spokesperson said they’re increasing capacity by adding third beds to some rooms at the first year dorms at a discounted rate. And they’re also negotiating a discounted rate with a partner hotel for students looking for options.

We talked with a mom whose daughter is a rising freshman at UNF this fall, they were walking the campus before move in day.

“Most freshmen I think it’s important for them to live on campus, to meet people, feel safe, get involved,” she said.

They put in for on campus housing back in January— UNF says dorms are secured on a first-come, first serve basis. But this year, there’s imbalance between supply and demand, leaving 121 first year students and 175 upperclassmen on a waiting list for on-campus housing.

A spokesperson with UNF said they couldn’t have foreseen what they called unprecedented demand because it happened so late in the admissions cycle—and it’s exceeded their ability to provide housing. UNF’s website says it accepts students on a rolling basis, with the deadline for this Fall semester falling on July 1.

Educational consultant Nancy Barnard says she imagines more accepted students enrolled than UNF anticipated.

She says UNF’s solid rankings and relatively low tuition is attracting more students.

“It’s a great school, and we’re so lucky to have it in our backyard,” Barnard said. “But with growth there comes pain.”

Rev. Sarah Locke with Jacksonville Campus Ministry has helped students in the past, by raising money and finding affordable housing for them.

“But ultimately, the hundreds of students is going to be too much for one ministry to to be able to help,” Locke said. “And so it really is the the responsibility of the university, the responsibility of our mayor, to really make sure that when we’re devoted to the higher education of our students, but we’re also devoted to their physical needs.”

A university spokesperson says the waitlist will be active through September and they will also provide some way, probably a Facebook group to put students on the waitlist in touch with each so they can be roommates- if that’s something students approve.

About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter