FAMU faces critical housing shortage for upcoming semester

Photo courtesy of FAMU Housing: FAMU Towers North & South.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) is facing an urgent housing crisis for the upcoming Fall 2024 semester, leaving many students scrambling to find alternative accommodations. 

Despite the severity of the issue, the university has not yet made an official public announcement, causing confusion and frustration among the student body. Instead, the Office of University Housing only posted a short Instagram reel advising returning students to apply for off-campus housing because there are no current on-campus housing options.

The housing application portal opened on March 25, 2024, for students seeking on-campus housing in several designated buildings: Sampson, Young, Polkinghorne Village West, and FAMU Towers North for freshmen and newly enrolled transfers; Palmetto Phase 3 for upperclassmen; Palmetto South, FAMU Towers South, and Polkinghorne Village East for all students; and Rattler Pointe for juniors, seniors, and graduate students.

Many students, including those who applied promptly and paid the mandatory $200 advance housing fee, have found themselves without housing or waitlisted without prior notice.

This issue has been exacerbated by system glitches that forced students to complete their applications multiple times. The university had initially stated that room assignments would be announced starting in June 2024, but as of July, many students have yet to receive any updates.

On the FAMU Housing webpage, it states, “Fall 2024 room assignments will be announced starting in June 2024. Space is limited, and the University cannot guarantee on-campus housing or assignment to a particular building, floor, or room. Housing is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.”

However, students are now left in a lurch, with no updates and no assurance of housing.

Students like Adiyah Thomas, a fourth-year scholar, only discovered their waitlist status after contacting the University Housing Office for updates. They were then advised that on-campus housing is not guaranteed and were directed to seek off-campus housing on short notice. This is particularly problematic as students are being informed just one month before they are due back on campus for move-in and classes.

“I called a few times in June, just to get a few updates on when the housing assignments would come out and I received very vague answers. But towards the end of June, I called again, and they said I was waitlisted, and then I spoke to someone else who told me that I won’t be receiving housing,” Thomas shared. 

Assistant housing director, Herbert Johnson, informed Thomas, “Keep in mind that while we take preferences into consideration, we cannot guarantee assignment to a particular building, floor, or room.”

“Everyone is receiving different responses or no response at all. It’s a lot of misinformation and lack of communication from that, which isn’t out of the ordinary for them,” Thomas said.

This housing discrepancy is not an isolated incident; FAMU and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) often struggle with providing adequate housing each semester. The lack of clear communication and timely notification from the university has only compounded the difficulties for students, many of whom cannot afford the higher costs associated with off-campus living.

Dailyn Rollins, a fourth-year Computer Information Systems scholar, shared her experience from last year’s housing application process, noting that the same issues are occurring again this year.

“‘First come, first served,’ they say. What about the people who pay in the office? We had no choice but to move off-campus. FAMU has had the parking lot next to Towers blocked off for a whole semester for what? Even after buying Rattler Pointe, there still wasn’t enough space. Housing has been a problem since before I came to FAMU. In my time on campus, I’ve seen two dorms torn down and one dorm abandoned. Instead of creating ‘green spaces,’ those buildings could’ve been refurbished for student safety and comfort,” Rollins said.

Despite repeated requests for an official statement from the housing office, there has been no response. 

As the fall semester approaches, students and their families are left scrambling for last-minute housing solutions. The university’s lack of communication and the ongoing uncertainty have created a stressful and untenable situation. There is an urgent need for FAMU to address this crisis transparently and provide immediate solutions to ensure that students have a place to live when classes begin.

For more information and updates, please contact the University of Housing for further assistance directly at (850)-599-3651 or by email at famuhousing@famu.edu.

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