JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many freshmen at the University of North Florida moved into their dorm Friday while hundreds of others are still looking for a place to live this fall.
A UNF spokesperson said the demand is greater than the supply, but it’s trying to get as many students into housing as possible -- a problem universities are facing nationwide.
Surging costs for rent and a renewed desire for students to experience traditional campus life after two years of COVID-19 restrictions have led to a supply shortage.’
“It’s a relief because I know that a lot of people are struggling and it’s just unfortunate because it’s all across the state that they’re just overbooked for housing and there are not enough places for students to stay so I’m really lucky that I got a place to stay,” first-year student Chase Rodgerson said.
Greg Weider was one of the fortunate parents to claim a spot for his daughter, Gregganne, who came all the way from Germany.
“I spent a career in the military and there are times when I went to places where there was no place to sleep,” Greg Weider said. “So I know there are struggles.”
Nearly 300 students remained on UNF’s housing waitlist Friday afternoon, including 175 upper-class students and 100 first-year students.
The waitlist is expected to remain open through September. The university said personnel are carefully monitoring for cancellations and moving students off the waitlist into housing when openings become available.
To make more space, the university has added a third bed to some rooms at a discounted rate. Weider’s daughter ended up in one of those rooms.
“She is in a triple room and to be honest with you, we have been moving stuff in, and it will work. It is big enough,” Greg Weider said.
It’s also negotiating with a local hotel for discounted room rates for students.
The university has set up a webpage with resources for students looking for alternative housing options: UNF: Off-Campus Housing Resources. It includes a list of six apartments nearby and the announcement of a deal with a Holiday Inn hotel a mile away from campus that will give students discounted rates on rooms.
According to UNF, 2,500 students will have moved into campus housing by the end of Friday.
“There’s a little bit of excitement. I am ready to meet some new people, but at the same time I am super stressed right now,” Gregganne Weider said.
Judith John moved her daughter in from Miami. She offered encouragement for parents and students who were not as fortunate Friday.
“Something may open up and someone may lose something, move to another school, whatever that looks like,” John said. “Something may open up.”
As first-year students are moving Friday, they are reminded move-in is by appointment only. You’re asked to show up only at the time you scheduled to avoid overcrowding during this process.