NSU’s student population continues to have concerns following the university’s Feb. 23 announcement which stated that the Rollings Hills graduate apartments would be used during the 2018-2019 school year to house the university’s growing number of undergraduate residential students.
According to Aarika Camp, associate dean of student services and director of residential life and housing, the change would allow NSU to house up to 373 undergraduate students in the Rolling Hills apartments.
“Juniors and seniors, if [they] were able to reside in [Founders, Farquhar and Vettel (FFV) and the Cultural Living Center (CLC)], would have had less than 100 spaces available to them, and would have had to share bedrooms due to the number of rising sophomores that are remaining on campus next year,” said Camp.
However, undergraduate upperclassmen like Aldana Foigel, a junior pursuing her bachelor’s degree in communication, said that the move to Rolling Hills comes with its own set of complications.
“This change will affect me enormously as a student-athlete,” said Foigel. “My main concern is money. Rolling Hills is much more expensive than CLC — where I currently live — and my scholarship doesn’t cover that difference between the residence hall rates … I have been looking for off-campus options, but without a car it’s just hard.”
Foigel stated that if she decided to stay on campus in the Rolling Hills apartments, she worried that transportation to her classes, meetings, internships and practices would pose an issue. She said that without a car, based on the current Shark Shuttle routes she estimates that she will lose 80 minutes of her day using the buses.
Transportation to and from campus has also been a concern for composition, rhetoric and digital media graduate student Jeffrey LaPointe who has had to look for off-campus housing.
“I do not have a car, and so I will need to get an apartment to rent that is either close enough to NSU for me to walk to the university center — up to half an hour should be fine — or is on a bus line,” said LaPointe.
“This change will affect me enormously as a student-athlete. My main concern is money. Rolling Hills is much more expensive than CLC — where I currently live — and my scholarship doesn’t cover that difference between the residence hall rates … I have been looking for off-campus options, but without a car it’s just hard.”
-Aldana Foigel, junior communication major
While students have complained about daily expenses regarding transportation, many displaced students also have also expressed concerns about NSU’s moving arrangements, including graduate clinical psychology student Sara Staley.
“I can say that we were originally promised assistance if we moved within a 10-mile radius of campus, and that number has now been reduced to 5 miles with no explanation,” said Staley.
While subsequent correspondence from the Office of Residential Life and Housing does list a moving radius of 5 miles, instead of the 10-mile radius previously quoted by Brad Williams, vice president of student affairs and dean of the college of undergraduate studies, in a Mar. 13 article, Camp said that students who have had to move farther away can still receive help to do so.
Instead of submitting the standard Rolling Hills Graduate Students Movers Request form, students should contact Victoria Myer, assistant director of housing operations, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance. Myer stated that as of April 19, 15 students had utilized the moving services with one student moving beyond the 5-mile radius.
“[We were] able to not only assure that the student was moved 8.5 miles away, but this was done on less than 24-hours notice when we are asking for five business days to arrange the services,” said Myer.
According to NSU’s guidelines, students must request the appropriate services by filling out a Rolling Hills Graduate Students Movers Request form at least five business days in advance. Students must be present when the items are moved and are also responsible for packaging their items, ensuring that all boxes have been sealed with tape.
Still, graduate students Brittany Chabot and Cassandra Cacace said that the biggest problem lies in the securing of an off-campus living space.
“This has put a great burden on the ease of handling this semester. Not only have I been working daily to get an apartment, but I also will have to find the time to move everything over to my new place once acquired and I am not almost done with grad school,” said Chabot.
Staley said the specials available at local apartment complexes which NSU secured were her greatest disappointment.
“For myself — and I’d imagine the average broke grad student — the complexes that NSU secured for these discounts are not the kind of complexes that students can afford to live in without excess support from parents or a great deal of working outside of school,” said Staley.
In response, Camp said the the university worked with 16 apartment complexes which were willing to provide discounts to NSU’s displaced students. She believes that they were able to secure “nice deals” such as a month’s free rent at Elan Maison Apartments and waived application fees at 10 other locations.
However, Cacace stated after working with NSU’s realtor Jill Silvert, finding an available unit may be the biggest problem that displaced students might face.
“They provided us with the NSU realtor, but when my future roommate and I contacted her, she said there were no availabilities in the area,” said Cacace.
Silvert, a licensed real estate agent who has assisted the NSU community for the past 12 years says that while she “always goes above and beyond” for her students, the lack of available housing units in the current market has affected her ability to place students in homes at this time. She noted that more housing units would become available moving into May as current students begin to move, but there has been a shortage for students looking to relocate before then.
“If you’re trying to move now in April, there isn’t much available,” said Silvert. “I work with private listings and so many owners just don’t know what they’ll have available right now so they don’t all list in April for July.”
“Rentals in Davie don’t typically function like college towns like the ones near University of Florida where students have to find a place months beforehand — people don’t always understand that students are trying to find places to live three, four or six months in advance.”
She also added that the lack of availability for students might also be a reflection of their budget.
“It could be their price. Prices for apartments in these new complexes are expensive,” said Silvert. “I’ve seen a one-bedroom for $1100 – $1800; $1300 in Cameron Cove, another furnished in Arrowhead Condominium for $1200 … but then students still have to pay for things like water, electricity, trash services and so on. It’s not like with the Rolling Hills apartments where everything is included, so I’m really trying but my hands are tied.”
“We have tried to extend services and support that many institutions would not ever consider. For example, movers can be quite expensive. Sometimes, it is important to put situations in perspective for students. While students may be inconvenienced to a certain extent, we truly try to be as accommodating as possible.”
-Aarika Camp, associate dean of student services and director of residential life and housing
According to the NSU website, total costs of room rates for units in the Rolling Hills apartments range from $4150 for a quad room to $6760 for a one-bedroom unit per semester. Prices for these units include appliances like stoves and refrigerators and a bed. Students living in the Rolling Hills apartments are also required to purchase a $205 meal plan.
Additionally, Camp stated that NSU has allowed returning undergraduate students, who will be moving to the Rolling Hills apartments for the 2018-2019 year, to split the one-bedroom units in Building A for a cost of $3180 per person for each semester. As of April 22, Camp noted that 20 students had secured singles for this purpose.
Camp added that the decision to move NSU’s graduate students out of the Rolling Hills apartments for the 2018-2019 school year was not easy to make. However, she hopes that students will “keep things in perspective.”
“We have tried to extend services and support that many institutions would not ever consider. For example, movers can be quite expensive,” said Camp. “Sometimes, it is important to put situations in perspective for students. While students may be inconvenienced to a certain extent, we truly try to be as accommodating as possible.”
She invites concerned students to contact representatives of the Office of Residential Life and Housing by calling 954-262-7052 or by visiting the office in The Commons on weekdays from