A sisterhood that you can afford: Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship House

The Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship House offers female FAU students an affordable housing option where they can learn life skills and form relationships that will last a lifetime.


Photo by Alex Liscio

Kendall Little, Managing Editor

The Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship House (BPWSH) is an affordable housing option for women who want to partake in a sisterhood on campus. 

FAU established the house in 1996 to offer 17 hard-working girls a place to learn life skills, develop a sisterhood, and create leadership abilities at an affordable price. BPWSH is located right behind University Village Apartments (UVA) on the Boca Raton campus. 

Current president of the BPWSH Leonela Gaither explained that living in the house changed her experience at FAU for the better. As a transfer student from a community college, she came to FAU with no friends or campus connection.

“It helped me with my leadership skills, my social skills, and helped me regain confidence that I had lost,” she said. “For me, the house has done a lot.”

Before moving in, BPWSH resident and recruitment chair Michaella Louis had trouble with public speaking. Now she says that she’s a pro.

“Usually I’m really afraid to speak up, but the house motivated me to take a leadership position,” she said. “It forces me to speak up.”

Louis is responsible for recruiting girls to come live in the house. She attends Resident Student Association (RSA) meetings every Wednesday to speak to potential residents, which requires her to speak to several people. 

The price per semester appealed to Louis as well, as the next cheapest housing option on campus is Heritage Park Towers and Glades Park Towers, with rates starting at $3,050 per semester.

The average cost of room and board at FAU is $4,055 per semester, which is actually lower than the national average of $5,750 per semester.

To live at the BPWSH, a resident pays $800 a semester. 

“It helps me coming from a low-income family,” Louis said.

The low price doesn’t dictate how nice the facilities are either.

“When you come in, you immediately walk into this really big living room,” Gaither said. “There’s also a large dining room where we wall sit for our meetings.”

She said that the house is most similar to UVA, but a fraction of the cost.

Residents of the house do not have to purchase a meal plan since they create cook crew shifts.

“Monday through Thursday, we pick meals that we want to prepare. We put it down on the list and go grocery shopping. We cook and then we also have to clean,” Gaither said.

Each girl is assigned to a certain day to cook dinner with the rest of the cook crew for that day.

The cost of groceries and cleaning supplies is incorporated into the semester cost. 

In regular FAU dorms, there are resident assistants and other employees that require pay. For the BPWSH residents, they do everything themselves.

Having cook crews not only saves money, but it also brings the girls closer together. Cooking and cleaning together serves as a bonding experience that the girls take part in daily. 

As for sleeping arrangements, there are two girls per room. “It’s two to a room and then four to a bathroom,” Gaither said.

The pandemic has changed up the dynamic of the house, but it’s nothing that the residents can’t handle.

“The COVID-19 safety precautions are mostly the same as the university has placed for all the dorms. The only thing different about ours is [that] I placed a rule where we have to sanitize the door when you come in and [sanitize] your hands,” Gaither said.

If a resident is exposed to COVID-19, there is a quarantine plan in place as well.

“If a girl is exposed to the virus they will remove all four girls that share the room/bathroom and make them quarantine for 14 days in UVA,” Gaither explained.

There are only a few requirements to be a resident of the house: applicants must be a Florida resident, a full-time female FAU student, and have a 3.0 GPA minimum.

Even though it’s in the name, the house is not exclusive to business majors.

“We welcome every single major,” Gaither said. 

The BPWSH is open to a wide diversity of girls as well. 

“One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people think it’s only for minority girls,” Gaither said. “It’s for every race and ethnicity. It’s not only for girls of color.”

For girls that are interested in applying for the BPWSH, the application process is easy. After submitting the application online, the applicant must complete an interview.

“We just ask you questions to get to know you,” Gaither said. 

Since she is also in charge of roommate placement, Gaither wants to make sure she matches up the best pairs.

Getting accepted does not mean that a girl will live at the house for all her years at FAU.

“After the Spring semester, everybody in the house applies again. It’s basically up for grabs,” Gaither said.

Once COVID-19 ends, Gaither said that she wants to make summer housing available at the house.

“A lot of girls have expressed that they would love to have summer housing, so I definitely want that to be done if possible,” she said.

Gaither urged that girls that are interested should apply. 

“Please take the opportunity while it’s here,” she said. “We definitely don’t know what the future holds.”


Kendall Little is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email her at [email protected] or tweet her @klittlewrites.