Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Students express continued concern over FAU housing crisis

Rising rent prices along with more students desiring to live on campus has led upperclassmen students to struggle to make housing arrangements.

It’s no secret that FAU’s upperclassmen population has been contending with on-campus housing insecurities for the past several months. To most, this was a shock as no indication was given to warn students that housing may be limited.

Upperclassmen students were greeted with a waitlist notification upon logging into the housing portal or checking their emails in February. Many who may have been excited to see their assignments and to plan their next school year instead had to confront sudden instability, potentially shattering plans or creating dangerous scenarios for students.

Most students first found out about the housing shortage on February 28 through a mass email, giving them just under six months until the start of the fall 2024 semester to make adequate plans.

The situation these students find themselves in could be written off as a consequence of attending a self-described “fast-growing institution.” However, behind each number is an individual who has had their plans for the future irrefutably disturbed.

FAU’s main campus location in Boca Raton makes it comparatively more expensive to find an off-campus housing arrangement when compared to other South Florida college towns.  

Rent in South Florida is dramatically higher than elsewhere in the state. Boca Raton and Miami both have median rent prices of $2,315 and $2,835 respectively, according to Zumper’s rent research.

Also shown by Zumper’s research is that Gainesville boasts a median rent price of $1,120, Tallahassee has a median rent price of $1,000, Tampa has an average price of  $1,650 and in Orlando, average rent is $1,638.

Hannah Howland, a junior exercise science major at FAU, had no choice but to find a place off campus due to her high number on the waitlist. 

When asked about how the prices in Boca Raton were affecting her decision, she said she is moving to Deerfield Beach because the rent in Boca Raton is too expensive This also poses a new potential problem to students forced off-campus, as their efforts to try escaping the high rent prices in Boca Raton may subject them to a long commute time which can carry its own expenses as well.

For some students, living on campus may have been the only avenue that has permitted them to attend FAU.

To students who have safely relied on FAU for housing, the sudden shock of facing insecurity may force some to withdraw and attend other universities, where housing is more easily accessible. This has the capability to hurt FAU’s overall statistics.

Amelia Lipscomb, a junior psychology major, said, “A lot of my friends are from out of state and relying on on-campus housing to go FAU so overall it’s been very frustrating and most of us are having to reevaluate if we can still go to FAU because of that.”

Other students felt that they had to leave FAU instead of face housing insecurity. 

Caleb Coughlin is one of these students. He withdrew from FAU and transferred to UNF. “When I signed [a housing contract] for my junior year I assumed I’d get housing. Then they kicked all non-sport related upperclassmen to the curb,” he said.

This solely affecting upperclassmen could potentially bring down FAU’s already poor transfer rate, which sits at 31%, compared to the state average of 13.54%. It will also only serve to bring FAU’s graduation rate of 55% down even further. These statistics are derived from FAU’s IPEDS graduation rates survey component.

A four-story apartment complex was proposed to help FAU’s precarious housing issue in 2021. However, this proposal was shut down by the Boca Raton City Council in the same year. This 546-bed apartment complex could have alleviated a lot of the pressure being put on the university and students.

As of right now, there are no plans either for more housing. An image from the Boca Raton Campus Master Plan shows near-term projects over the next 10 years. It only includes a single dormitory called “Gateway Village Apartments” which would only serve as a replacement of University Village Apartments (UVA) if and when it is ever demolished. There are currently no plans to demolish UVA.

Furthermore, FAU is struggling to even house their freshman students and had some of them stay in hotels in the fall semester of the 2022-23 academic year. This is not a new problem, as the university also partnered with hotels to provide freshman housing as early as 2018, and this has reoccurred every subsequent fall semester until now in Fall of 2023, where it has been reported that no freshman students will stay in hotels this year.

Other than the construction of Atlantic Park Towers which opened in fall of 2021, no other arrangements have been made to alleviate the issue, however trends show that FAU may be taking in less students. FAU’s undergraduate degree-seeking population for fall of 2023 has decreased from fall of 2022. For fall of 2022 there were 22,957 students enrolled, versus the 22,121 students enrolled in the upcoming semester. This is a difference of 836 students, which may not seem like much, however without this decrease it’s likely the housing crisis could’ve been worse than it is now

A 2017 report from The New York Times showed that the median family income of an FAU student is 75,400. Although this number is slightly above the average family income of $70,784, it may still not be enough for a student to comfortably live off campus without being debt burdened. 

To not be debt-burdened, an individual cannot spend more than 30% of their income on rent. A recent report published by FAU Associate Vice President for Media Relations and Public Affairs Joshua Glanzer showed that in much of the United States such a status is only realistically achievable with a salary of $100,000 dollars or more.

On top of these already high prices, 38% of FAU students receive Pell Grants, meaning they might be low income and can’t afford the costs involved with living off campus.

As South Florida is booming in population, many officials expect this problem to exacerbate. According to the United States Census Bureau, Florida was the nation’s fastest-growing state in 2022, while South Florida specifically has added 30,000 new residents.

The current housing issue is also mostly a problem for the Boca Raton campus and its students, seemingly not affecting other FAU campuses. Jupiter campus student and junior business major Ethan Hoang said he was unaware about the housing shortage and renewing his contract was as simple as it was in the past.

“I have no idea though if there is a shortage,” he added.

FAU isn’t the only university in the state contending with housing insecurities for its student body. Florida International University’s student body president Alex Sutton was briefed on our current crisis and says his university is facing the same issue. 

“Yeah, it’s a problem we have,” Sutton said. ”Exact same problem at FIU. To make room for freshmen, the upperclassmen are no longer able to get housing.”

Whether or not any of these officials are aware or concerned regarding the on-campus housing situation is unknown. 

Christian Valverde is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Christian at [email protected].

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    Susan SkuraDec 2, 2023 at 6:45 am

    Great article- unfortunately we are living this right now. My daughter will be starting her second semester at FAU – she did not want to dorm again with total of 4 girls- her bedroom roommate and her have very different schedules-roomie likes to do homework starting at 12am and keeps the light on…. Needless to say- not a good situation- we decided to find apartment to get a private bedroom for her- very difficult to find shared apartment-single room or studio is totally out of the question – rent is higher then NY prices – she now is debating changer classes completely and doing on line from home. She would need to drop 1 class till next semester as it’s a lab. Not even sure if it’s too late to do this. She loves the school- keeps her GPA high and what should be a great learning experience and transition to adulting has now turned into a very disappointing nightmare.