Students have not seen an increase in on-campus housing prices since 2012, and for the most part, that trend will continue into the summer and fall semesters, according to UCF Housing and Residence Life.
As of now, the $60 million NorthView apartment complex is the only housing development that will raise its prices in the fall. Residents will see a 2 percent increase, meaning that a 905-square-foot loft, comprised of four bedrooms and four bathrooms, will cost $3,855 in the fall and spring as opposed to $3,776.
Each year, the UCF Board of Trustees approves rental rates. Based on the type of living accommodations, prices can range from $967 to $2,606 in the summer and $2,470 to $4,440 in the fall and spring.
To help ease the transition from high school to college, UCF strongly encourages first-year students to live on campus.
“It is very convenient, don’t get me wrong,” said Daniel Robles, a rising sophomore. “The biggest benefit about living on campus is that I’m in walking distance to my classes.”
In fall 2015 and spring 2016, the political science major paid two installments of $3,440 to live in Towers at Knights Plaza. His dorm, roughly 978 square feet, had four private bedrooms and two bathrooms. Robles said he was content with his living situation, but he was irked by the lack of correlation between the living space and the cost.
“If I was comparing it to places where my friends lived off campus, it was definitely below par,” Robles said. “They pay less than me and get just about the same, if not more accommodations with their living. Sometimes I wonder if the convenience of living on campus is worth it.”
Despite returning home to Miramar, Florida for an internship, he chose to pay the $2,202 for summer housing at Towers. If not, Robles would have had to pay a cancellation fee since the complex enforces a year-long housing contract. And after comparing the fee against the cost to keep his belongings in his room, he said there was “barely a difference.”
Jessica LaVigne, a junior and an experimental animation major, said despite its setbacks, living on campus has its perks. She spent her freshman year in the Apollo Community and her sophomore year in the Lake Claire Community, which prompted her to become involved in SGA’s Senate Leadership Council and the Lead Scholars program.
Excluding the summer session, LaVigne paid $2,810 per semester to live in a 650-square-foot Apollo suite with two shared rooms, one single room, an unfurnished living room and a bathroom. The following year, she moved to a 1,180-square-foot complex and paid $3,045 for four private bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room in Lake Claire.
She said she enjoyed the practicality of on-campus housing, but was bothered by the fact that she had to move out right after finals in December.
Most on-campus housing communities do not allow students to stay over winter break. This year, final exams are scheduled to end on December 12, giving UCF Knights just one day to pack up their belongings. Late move outs may incur additional charges or fees.
LaVigne said it was time for her to upgrade to an apartment in Knights Circle. For $670 per month, she will enjoy more benefits, including the option to stay in Orlando over winter break as well as a private bedroom and bathroom.
“It has a better layout than where I was living,” LaVigne said.
The prices for university-owned housing, as put by digital media major Sam Nagorka, are too costly. Having lived in the Libra Community his freshman year and the Nike Community his sophomore year, Nagorka spent a total of $11,570 from fall 2014 through spring 2016.
He said his dissatisfaction with Libra stemmed from not having a kitchen, sharing a bathroom with three other roommates and not having appliances such as a washer and dryer. At Nike, the situation was more or less the same, with the exception of a kitchen.
Nagorka said he decided to try his luck at Orion at Orpington, an off-campus housing location. He found that a four bedroom and four bathroom floorplan started at $635 per month and included a private bedroom and adjoining bathroom, shared occupancy of the common areas, including, water, furniture, cable with HBO and high-speed internet, and a $160 electricity allowance.
He is set to move into his new housing development in the fall.
“It’s a very safe and secluded community. And it has great amenities for a reasonable price,” Nagorka said.
Shana Medel is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. You can reach her ShanaM@centralfloridafuture.com.