How to find off-campus housing
Screenshot from William Lopez’s student housing website. Photo by Naomi Nerlien.

How to find off-campus housing

It’s no secret that housing has been on the minds of students a lot this semester. With much of the class of 2027 being housed in hotels, the even larger class of 2028 has students wondering if finding their own housing accommodations off-campus will be a better option. 

Though there is a strong presence of college students in Sarasota and Manatee counties, Sarasota is mainly known as an aesthetic destination for retirees. Finding affordable housing for college students may be difficult because of this. Resources such as Sarasota Off Campus show that though housing is available, it doesn’t fit into the average college student’s budget.  

Third-year Resident Advisor (RA) William Lopez worked with housing and the START Center to build a website to help those looking for off-campus housing during Fall 2024. The website succinctly lays out information for students living on their own for the first time, including how to understand FICO credit scores, links to shelters that provide housing or meals and more. Lopez also hosted an event on April 4 to provide students with the resources and information necessary to find affordable off-campus housing for the 2024-2025 academic year. 

“From my event it was very clear that Dr. [Jennifer] Meier has full intentions to house as many students as she can,” Lopez told the Catalyst via email. “She explained during my event that the $100 housing deposit was so that the housing department could afford and reserve more spots for students to live in, with more money proportional to the amount of students inputting their desire to be on campus through the housing application. It doesn’t seem to be very clear yet what that will look like, whether it will be more hotels or a revival of B-dorm.” 

Lopez encourages students to reach out to the following administrators who not only helped him with his event but can connect students to outside resources they’d need for securing off-campus housing: 

  • Sarah Merrit ( for case management, questions about leases and applying for off-campus housing.
  • Ceci Linton ( for personal financing.
  • Jennifer Meier ( for New College Housing application questions. 

The Housing office located in Hamilton Classroom 1 is open every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for students to ask questions in person.

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