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Dorm room shortage at UNF leaves some college freshmen scrambling

Some college freshmen are scrambling to find housing just a few days before the start of the school year.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's almost time for college students at the University of North Florida to head back to school. 

On Friday, many freshmen started moving into their dorms, but there isn't room for every freshman to do so.

Of all the things that are on the list to start college, one would expect to see a laptop, books and possibly some new clothes. But an apartment wasn't in the budget for Jayziel Gonzalez.

Yadira Lorenzo's son found out last week that he was waitlisted for a dorm.

"It's been a nightmare since that day one," says Lorenzo.

While most students were moving into the dorms, Lorenzo and her husband drove to Jacksonville to look for an apartment for their son.

"It's been very hard," said Lorenzo. "Those that say they are still available, they're actually taken and those that are still open are too expensive."

This year UNF has an expected on-campus residential population of slightly more than 3,700 students, which is higher than most years. 

A spokesperson for UNF tells First Coast News:

Housing space is secured on a first-come, first served basis. Due to the heightened demand this is the first year UNF has had a first year waitlist.

Lorenzo's son is currently on the waitlist, but with school starting Monday the family has to look for an off-campus apartment. And that's not the only expense.

"Now that we have to look for a place we have to get him a car, that wasn't in the budget," said Lorenzo.

UNF does have resources for students looking for alternative housing, if you are in that situation you can click this link: UNF: Off-Campus Housing Resources

Lorenzo also told First Coast News that a First Coast News viewer reached out to them and recommended an apartment within their price range in Yulee.

Here are some extra notes about freshmen move-in and housing on UNF's campus provided by the university:

  • Like other colleges and universities nationwide, UNF is experiencing an unprecedented demand for on-campus housing.
  • Traditionally, there has been a waitlist for upper-class students, but due to the heightened demand, this is the first year UNF has had a first-year waitlist. Earlier this week, there were 121 students on the first-year waitlist and 175 students on the upper-class waitlist. Housing space is secured on a first-come, first served basis. Contracts for this fall have been coming in since November 2021. 45% of the current waitlist contracted in the last 28 days.
  • As of today, there has been a slight reduction in the housing waitlist for freshman and it is now down to 100 students. 
  • UNF’s base bed count is 3,504. This fall, we anticipate our residential population will be approx. 3,725 if everyone moves in as expected. The University was able to increase capacity by adding triple beds to some first-year rooms in facilities that are designed to accommodate additional beds and offer the space at a reduced rate.
  • The University has set up a webpage with resources for students looking for alternative housing options. UNF: Off-Campus Housing Resources
  • We are carefully monitoring for cancellations and moving students off the waitlist into housing when openings become available.
  • 2,500 students will have moved into campus housing by the end of today.
  • UNF’s Week of Welcome events are underway, and we are excited about welcoming our students back to campus.

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