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Saturday, March 02, 2024

Less than a week after move-in traffic cleared, after the last bed had been bunked and every store in a 20-mile radius of UF had sold its entire inventory of 3M Command Hooks, Jean Palacios was moving out of her dorm room. And then moving in again.

Palacios, 18, was a late applicant to on-campus housing.

"There are more residents here than we've ever had before," said IRHA President Severin Walstad. "We have 200 more students than we expected."

These additional students are being placed in overflow housing. Overflow spaces include apartments or other rooms that are not traditionally used during the year, including spaces in a community just south of the main housing office on Southwest 13th Street and Museum Road.

Because of the shortage, resident assistants are also taking roommates, something they haven't done since the fall of 2009. "They're probably the most affected group," Walstad said.

Students who applied late are being placed in late-applicant triples.

Palacios was one such student. She was placed in a triple on the ground floor of Weaver Hall.

"Our room had two desks, two dressers and two closets," she said. "And three beds."

According to Sharon Blansett, assistant to the associate vice president for student affairs, there are currently 7,765 students living on campus. This year, UF received 14,466 applications for on-campus housing from incoming students alone.

"Each year, we anticipate cancellations based on historical trends," Blansett said.

UF housing offers more room contracts than there are rooms. "By offering more contracts than we have spaces for, we ensure that we open as close to 100 percent occupancy as possible," she said.

Blansett said staying as close to maximum capacity as possible allows housing to provide the most affordable rent rates and offer a wide range of services to residents.

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During the first week of classes, Palacios received a call saying she had a new room. The transfer process was not easy.

When she received the offer to switch rooms, she wondered how she would move all her things again and was told by the housing office to use the bus.

Eventually, she found a way to move: her roommate's car.

"We managed to fit everything into this tiny car," she said. "Then when we closed the door, my lamp broke. I'm down a lamp now."

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