FAU students infuriated with housing assignments

FAU waitlisted over one thousand students on Monday, Feb. 27, forcing them to consider leaving FAU because of housing insecurity.


Nicholas Windfelder

Innovation Village Apartments (IVA) are located right next to the football stadium and Schmidt Family Complex. Roughly 44% of student-athletes live on-campus.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated as of March 28 due to a change in the Board of Trustees’ next meeting date.

Florida Atlantic University Housing and Residential Education (HRE) announced housing assignments on Monday, leaving many students upset and worried about where they will live.

FAU cannot guarantee them housing for the Fall 2023 semester. FAU has reserved multiple buildings for housing freshmen, leaving thousands of sophomores, juniors, and seniors without a dorm. Student Body President-Elect Dalia Calvillo says that over 1,000 students have been waitlisted by HRE.

HRE saw an “unprecedented” number of current student residents, approximately 75%, renew their housing contracts for the Fall 2023 to Spring 2024 school year. In years prior, the average was closer to 55%, according to an email from Vice President of Media Relations and Public Affairs Joshua Glanzer.

“Florida Atlantic University developed a housing occupancy management plan in anticipation of increased housing demand for the 2023-2024 academic year,” wrote Glanzer on behalf of HRE. “As a part of that plan, we must set caps for our current residents, giving priority to our freshman and sophomores followed by our upper-classmen and graduate students.”

Many universities give priority to freshman and sophomore on-campus housing in order to aid new students’ transition from high school to college. 

On March 13, HRE staff will communicate with all waitlisted students to provide them with a waitlist number and off-campus housing resources, which will include details regarding FAU’s Off-campus Housing Fair on March 15, according to Glanzer.

Nathaniel Watson, a sophomore business management major, said it is unfair the HRE is giving first consideration to the classes of 2026 and 2027.

“I personally don’t like being treated as someone who is just a piece to a larger puzzle, I want my housing and don’t want the priority to be students who aren’t even enrolled yet,” Watson wrote.

In 2021, the Boca Raton City Council rejected a proposal to build a four-story apartment complex on NW 5th Avenue, which would have provided more off-campus housing options for FAU students.

Councilwoman Monica Mayotte supported the project but said FAU was not interested in pursuing it at the time. Instead, the university opened Atlantic Park Towers that August.

“Since then, the most recent FAU campus master plan has been released by the university and the state. This master plan outlines their timelines for adding housing on campus plus many other student focused amenities. The city is not involved with the development of the campus master plan,” wrote Mayotte in a statement to the UP. “Unfortunately, it is out of our hands until a project for off campus student housing is presented to us in the future.”

Glanzer did not respond to requests for further comment by the time of publication. FAU students have six months to figure out housing arrangements between now and August.

Over 70 students voiced their concerns about housing prioritization to representatives of the Residential Student Association (RSA) at a general board meeting on Wednesday.

“Now all the upperclassmen are most likely about to transfer out since they do not have housing. If the Board of Trustees [BoT] continues this, those same freshmen that will become upperclassmen will face the same problem and it will be a continuing cycle. Some people don’t even have a home to go back to. So I feel like all of that wasn’t even taken into consideration,” said senior Briana Thomas at the meeting.

Calvillo is disappointed with the actions of HRE.

“Treating students as numbers and not caring about them having a place to live is completely unacceptable,” Calvillo wrote in a statement.

She acknowledged that every year there are a number of students who get waitlisted or don’t get housing, but this year’s number is greater than normal. Following the negative feedback FAU received for housing students in nearby hotels, Calvillo says she expected FAU to do better.

“To the thousands of students who have been waitlisted, I can assure you that SG will do everything in our power to be a voice for you,” Calvillo wrote.

RSA representatives —  who acknowledged their limited power to act on behalf of the student body urged students to speak to the BoT. The board is responsible for making cost-effective decisions that affect education programs, information reporting, and housing policies. There are thirteen members of the BoT. Six are appointed by the governor, and another five are appointed by the state’s Board of Governors. The remaining two positions belong to the FAU student body president and the president of the University Faculty Senate.

“This is the Board of Trustees,” said senior Vina Echeverria at the RSA meeting, pointing to the BoT members listed on FAU’s website. “They’re the ones making these decisions. For the most part, at least. We all have emails, we all have phone numbers, and we’re all being affected. Talk with your organizations, talk with each other, and organize. Everyone needs to do it now.”

At the last BoT meeting on Feb. 14, the board said they were intentionally over-accepting out-of-state students in order to charge more for tuition, according to SG Rules and Policies Chair Jay Goodman. 

“They said they were aware that it would cause a housing problem, but they said that they would deal with it later,” said Goodman.

The BoT is holding its next meeting virtually on Tuesday, April 25.

41% of FAU students come from low-income families, according to Calvillo.

“I don’t think FAU realizes this, and if they do, they clearly don’t care,” she wrote.

Max Norris, a sophomore music education major, wrote that the Housing website crashed for him and everyone he knew who was trying to complete the application on Feb. 6. He may withdraw from FAU if he cannot be guaranteed housing.

“Personally, for me, if I don’t have housing through FAU, I can not come back as I have nowhere else to live.  And I also have friends who are out of state that did not get housing yet freshmen that are within an hour of campus are still getting housing above them,” Norris wrote.

Scheneider Victor, a junior, expressed his concerns about the future of FAU without upperclassmen at the RSA meeting and is not surprised by FAU’s decision to prioritize incoming freshmen by waitlisting a majority of upperclassmen. He believes the administration is more concerned with making as much money as possible.

“My concern is not necessarily against housing. It’s just the impact on the future of the school. Most of the executive boards and other organizations are run by upperclassmen. You take away those upperclassmen, you basically take away all the organizations that we have. And I think that’s something that the school really didn’t take into consideration,” said Victor.

Connor Birkhimer, a sophomore political science and history major, feels contacting HRE is a waste of time. 

“Administration dodges questions and avoids telling students and parents why FAU is not prioritizing its own students. So a student’s options are to wait for a slim chance of housing, drop out, or find somewhere else to live,” Birkhimer wrote in a statement.

Jessica Abramsky is the News Editor for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Jessica at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @jessabramsky.

Elisabeth Gaffney is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Elisabeth at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @elisabethgaff.