The Housing Crisis’ Second Wave: Spring 2021 Students Struggling to Find Housing

By Emily Pesquera

On-campus housing may come easy to some, but to others not so much. The University of Tampa’s class of 2025 is once again experiencing an unpredictable housing crisis as some Spring 2021 students are being told there is no on-campus housing for them.

After admitting over 3700 new first year students for Fall 2021, UT had to defer freshmen to off- campus housing due to the limited spaces on campus. 

With the original fall housing issues now in the past, many students are still struggling with  having to find affordable, safe, off-campus housing.

Students coming to UT for the Spring 2021 semester received notifications this past week stating if they were on the housing waiting list or not. Many students are on the waiting list, scrambling to find a place to live.

Olivia McDowell, incoming Spring 2021 freshman, received the dreaded email for no on-campus housing.

“Honestly, I kept my hopes high and was optimistic that I would get housing in the spring,” said McDowell. “Even though I understood there was a chance that I most likely wouldn’t, I still thought UT was better than that. When I found out the news, I was devastated that the college experience I wished for was taken away from me.” 

Brianna O., an incoming Spring 2021 student was also impacted by the emails.

“I have no plan and every off-campus student housing is sold out, it was a huge shock,” said Brianna.

With The Henry being UT’s go to off-campus apartment, it filled up quickly. However, UT’s preferred off campus housing complex is still met with controversy amongst students. 

“I like living at the Henry, but I feel like I definitely am missing the campus experience,” said Elizabeth Laro, freshman public relations major. “One thing I like is I have my own room and there is still a community here, everyone is so nice. I definitely wish I could just roll out of bed and go to class though.” 

Housing costs in downtown Tampa are continuing to rise, causing students left without housing to pay a hefty price on top of their UT tuition.

According to The Henry’s website, living at the apartment complex is “student living elevated.” This elevated living comes with a price of $1899 a month for a one bedroom, one bath apartment.

Additionally, The Vintage Lofts complex, another apartment in Tampa, advertises rent for a one bedroom one bath apartment starting at $1820 a month. This means that a four month lease would be around $2370 more expensive than a semester in UT’s Palm Apartments. 

With housing still unknown for many, the dream of attending UT is in jeopardy for some Spring 2021 students as finding housing by January seems nearly impossible.

“In all honesty, I don’t even know if I’m going to stay at my dream school and attempt to find housing or if I’m going to go to a different school,” said McDowell. “I’m shocked and upset that the university is leaving teenagers homeless or contributing to their debt by not providing proper housing.”

Photo Courtesy of The University of Tampa’s website.

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