JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Classes start Monday at the University of North Florida, but freshman Jayziel Gonzalez may not be there to experience it.
"If I don't have a dorm and a place to stay, then I have to resign from my classes," he explained to First Coast News.
He received an email last week explaining he'd been placed on a waitlist for on-campus housing. UNF gave him the option to postpone the start of his college career to next spring.
"Even on orientation that was back on July 12, they reassured everybody that was there that all students were going to have a dorm," said his mother, Yadira Lorenzo.
They live in Central Florida, so making the trip to find an apartment this close to the start of the semester is unlikely, according to Lorenzo.
Gonzalez signed up for his in-person classes last month.
"What is going to guarantee that it's going to be a seamless roll on spring when they don't have dorms now?" Lorenzo asked.
She says her son's housing options are limited. We checked the apartments closest to UNF and found at a minimum, rent was $1,200 a month. Lorenzo said that is not in the families budget.
"That will be a lot of extra money, like, there is no way," she said.
In a statement, UNF tells us, "Demand for on-campus housing for Fall 2022 is extremely high, and it is a national issue, not just one occurring at UNF. Contributing to this heightened demand is the increase in off-campus rental rates. Housing and Residence Life has been accepting housing contracts from students since Fall 2021 on a first-come, first-served basis, and a waiting list has been created for students who still are seeking on-campus housing. We understand the frustrations of students and their families. Staff is diligently monitoring the situation, considering options, and reaching out to students as spaces become available."
For Gonzalez, what was supposed to be a happy celebration, has turned into a housing nightmare.
"I was really excited, but finding out I was on a waitlist got me kind of less motivated," he said.