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Parents & Guardians

Parents & Guardians

The Housing Department at Florida State University considers the parents of our students as partners in the development of the student during their residential experience. Florida State University is committed to the intellectual, social, and personal development of its students. As partners, we can work together to help students develop problem-solving skills to aid them in their journey to becoming responsible and autonomous adults.

This website describes some of the changes you can expect your student to face in the next few years. Your son or daughter will probably think, feel, and act differently as growth and change occur. He/She will seek to become more independent, autonomous, and competent. Your college student will probably not do everything you desire, or in the way you prefer. He/She may not make choices in the most efficient manner, or in a way that you totally understand, but with encouragement and support, most students make it through the process successfully. These web pages hold information you may find useful as you go through this process with your college student.

The Housing Department at Florida State University is dedicated to making not only the experience of our students the best it can be, but also that of the parents. Our staff is dedicated to assisting students and parents with problems, concerns or just answering questions.

Changes Leading to Student Independence

Although it may be difficult to see your student leave home, remember that he/she is learning skills that will lead not only to a successful education and career, but also to a satisfying life. As a student becomes more self sufficient, his/her reliance on you will begin to change. You may find others are replacing you as a source of influence and advice; remember, however, your college student needs the freedom to create his/her own personal goals and plans, and seek the counsel of professors and friends. Your ability to be flexible will be a steadying influence on his/her change. It will be important for your student to know the security of home is always there, and that a parent is still a parent even when encouraging and allowing for more independence.

Just because your student moves away from home doesn't mean they no longer need you. It's as important as ever for you to remain involved in your student's life -it's important to his/her success! The key is to be interested in what is happening in your college student's life, while respecting the fact that they are becoming an adult. Some ways to remain involved without being intrusive:

  • Don't make your conversations with your student feel like inquisitions.
  • Do ask your student what he/she is learning in his/her classes, instead of focusing solely on grades.
  • Don't drill your student for details about each of his/her new friends.
  • Do keep conversations balanced; also let your student know what's happening in *your* life.
  • Don't call or e-mail every single day; let your student contact you when he/she wants to talk.

Here at Florida State University, students meet people from different geographic locations as well as different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. They will be encouraged to appreciate the diversity among people. It will be important for parents to share in this process and encourage the exploration of our diverse world. As students become more familiar with diversity, they will become more comfortable learning from and interacting with different types of people. FSU offers a multicultural environment to promote the attainment of better communication skills and improved management of relationships with others. You become the beneficiary as your son or daughter develops maturity, gains more wisdom, and is better able to live in this diverse world.

A student who feels trusted by his/her parents:

  • Has more self-confidence
  • Can stand up for what he/she believes
  • Knows he/she has support at home
  • Is able to say "no" when he/she should
  • A student who does not feel trusted by his/her parents:
  • May defy authority because it's expected
  • Feels unable to communicate about what's really happening at college
  • Will look to other influences, that may or may not be good, for support

As your student grows, a normal part of development will be experimentation with a variety of roles in an effort to establish individuality. As a parent you may find this both pleasing and troubling. However, as the experimentation takes place, you may find it challenging to understand and support what is going on with your son or daughter. You can make a significant contribution to their growth by allowing the liberty to explore various alternatives and reach their own conclusions about academic majors, career options, and friends. You can also serve as a role model by accepting change while remaining constant with your personal values.

Helping Your Student From a Distance

Of course, you are still a parent even if your student has moved away, he or she still needs your support and guidance during the college years. Here are some ways you can express your caring and enhance your student's experience at college:

Stay in touch!
Even though your student is experimenting with independent choices, he or she still needs to know that you're there and are available to talk over both normal events and difficult issues.

Allow Space
Allow space for your student to set the agenda for some of your conversations. If he/she needs help or support, the subject is more likely to come up if you aren't continually inquiring about what time he/she came in last night. Your role is to listen actively and try to understand what they are saying or trying to say.

Be realistic with your college student about financial matters
Most students come to school with at least some plan about how tuition, fees, books, and room and board will be paid for, and what the family's expectations are about spending money. Being specific in the beginning may help avoid misunderstandings later.

Be realistic about academic achievement and grades
Florida State University attracts bright students and has some of the highest academic standards for universities in Florida. This leads to a higher level of competition than what students may have faced in High School and means that not every freshman who excelled academically in High School will be a 4.0 student here. Developing the capacity to work independently and consistently can be more important than grades, as long as the student meets the basic academic requirements set out by the university.

Encourage them to use available FSU resources
If your student does experience difficulties, encourage him to take advantage of the many campus resources available for students. The University Counseling Center is always available to help your student and there are a variety of other sources for academic assistance as well.

University Housing staff is available to ease your transition to FSU, help you with concerns, resolve difficult situations and create memorable experiences in the residence halls.

Residence Coordinators

The Residence Coordinator is a full-time, professional live-in staff member. The Coordinator is a graduate of a master's degree program, most typically higher education administration or student counseling. The Coordinator is responsible for the overall operations in the hall or complex. Duties include helping residents with academic, housing and personal problems; advising residence hall student groups; providing educational programs; supervising and training RAs; and helping residents develop and maintain positive communities.

Assistant Coordinators/Hall Directors

Assistant Coordinators and Hall Directors are full-time graduate students pursuing academic work (usually in higher education administration or student counseling) who also live and work in the residence halls. These graduate students assist the Residence Coordinator in all areas of hall management, community development, student group advising, and staff supervision.

Resident Assistants (RAs)

RAs are upper-division undergraduate students who live in the residence halls. RAs coordinate fun and educational activities, inform students about university norms and expectations, serve as a resource for students, disseminate information, and work toward building a community atmosphere. RAs uphold and enforce community standards and university policies and have the authority to confront residents or guests in violation of these policies. Residents are encouraged to go to their RA staff with questions or concerns.


Receptionists are students who work at the front desk of each residence hall to provide customer service to residents and their guests. They manage the day-to-day functions that are crucial to the success of our communities. They also provide administrative assistance to the Residence Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator for the building.

Night Staff

Night Staff are students who are responsible for maintaining safety and security in the residence halls between the hours of 11pm-7am. They address safety and security concerns, as well as policy issues, and assist hall staff in times of emergency.

University Housing has an on-campus residential population of 6,400 students and receives and processes approximately 10,000 Housing contracts every year. Before entering into a contract with University Housing, it is very important that you understand the Terms & Conditions and the manner in which Housing Assignments are made.

Terms and Conditions

A complete listing of the Terms and Conditions can be found here.

Students who submit a Housing Contract enter a legally binding agreement with University Housing. By submitting this Contract, students are financially obligated to live on–campus within University residence halls.

Students who choose not to enroll at Florida State University, and notify University Housing, may receive a partial refund of their Housing deposit, depending on when University Housing is notified. If written notification is received by University Housing by May 1, $175 from the initial $225 deposit will be refunded. If a cancellation is received May 2 through July 1, a $75 refund will be allowed. Cancellations made after July 2 will not result in a refund. If the student does enroll with Florida State University, they will be financially obligated to our residence halls.

We encourage students who would like to live on-campus to contract for Housing as soon as they are admitted (see priority numbers below). Even if a student chooses not to enroll at FSU, it is well worth it to receive a priority number.

Our process does not permit for "holding" of rooms. Once a student has submitted a Housing Contract and has decided to enroll at FSU, they should cease looking for other living arrangements. Signing a lease with an off-campus agency and trying to break the contract with University Housing will often lead to a student being financially liable for both the Housing Contract and off–campus rent payments. Once a Housing Contract is submitted, students should plan on living in University Housing.

Priority Numbers

When students sign-up for Housing, they will be assigned a priority number. This priority number will be used to determine in what order students are placed in the residence halls. A numerically lower priority number means that a student is more likely to be placed in one of their preferred halls. For numerically higher numbers, we will place the student where there is still space available on campus.

Though a student's priority number may appear high, there is no reason to worry. Remember that every contract signed generates a new priority number. If a prospective student with a better priority number chooses not to enroll at FSU, they will be skipped.  Though your student's priority number does not change, they are actually "closer" to the front of the line than they were before!

A student's placement is also impacted if they list a "roommate" preference as opposed to a "hall" preference. Please see the Hall vs. Roommate Preference section below for more information.

Hall vs. Roommate Preference

When submitting a Housing Contract, students will be asked to preference either hall or roommate. If your student has a roommate they would like to live with, both students must submit their contract with a preference for roommate, they must list one another, and they must select the same hall and room type preferences in the same order. Failing to complete any of the aforementioned steps may cause the students not to be placed with one another.

Wait List

In some instances, students who are later housing applicants may be placed on a wait list for campus housing. While this can be concerning for them, the wait list is not necessarily an indication that they will not receive housing on campus. Historically, a number of students who have submitted Housing Contracts will make decisions throughout the summer to cancel their admission or attend another institution, thus opening up spaces for students on the housing wait list. University Housing will carefully consider trends from previous years and will communicate with wait–listed students throughout the summer with status updates. In the event that cancellations are not occurring as expected and we are NOT able to offer housing to certain students, we will communicate that information in writing by mid–July. Placement on the wait list does not remove obligation to the Housing Contract.

Overflow Housing

An overflow room assignment may be thought of as a mid-point between the housing wait list and a regular permanent room assignment. Overflow rooms are rooms within the residence halls that are usually used for study lounges or common areas that have been converted to student rooms. They are equipped with locking doors, beds, clothes hanging and dresser space, desks, and internet access. Some even have kitchens. As permanent spaces become available through admissions cancellations, etc., students in overflow rooms are assigned to those spaces in priority number order. While it is possible that a few students might remain in a overflow room for a longer period of time, most students initially assigned to a overflow space are reassigned to permanent rooms before hall move-in occurs. Assignment to a overflow room does not remove obligation to the Housing Contract.

University Housing Orientation Presentation

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For Current Residents:

Rental Rates

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View all Rental Rates for University Housing's Residence Halls.

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Florida Prepaid Housing Plan

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Learn how to use Florida Prepaid Housing Plan at Florida State.

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Rent Payments and Options

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View all rent payment due dates for University Housing's Residence Halls.

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FSU Fee Payment Site

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Visit the FSU Fee Payment site to pay all of your fees.

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For Future Residents:

Rental Rates

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View all Rental Rates for University Housing's Residence Halls.

Find out more »

Florida Prepaid Housing Plan

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Learn how to use Florida Prepaid Housing Plan at Florida State.

Find out more »

Rent Payments and Options

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View all rent payment due dates for University Housing's Residence Halls.

Find out more »

FSU Fee Payment Site

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Visit the FSU Fee Payment site to pay all of your fees.

Find out more »

Safety & Security

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Right to Privacy Act(also known as the Buckley Amendment), passed in 1974, is a United States federal law that prevents the dissemination of student records to any third party. Unless a written waiver has been obtained and signed by the student, this prevents personal information from being transmitted to anyone, regardless of the student's age or dependency status.

More information on the academic implications of FERPA can be found here, but this page is going to address FERPA's relation to your student in University Housing.

Student assignment and housing records are also covered under FERPA. Because of this, we are limited in the methods of communication we can use to transmit information to a student, and also to whom that information can be transmitted. We are unable to send anything related to a student to anyone but that student.

FERPA protects all students equally. Therefore, we are unable to communicate information about a student's roommate or suitemate as well. The exception, of course, is making the roommate and suitemate name and email address available with a student's housing assignment. Other information on a fellow student, including academic standing, GPA, age, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, if even reported, cannot be divulged.

Once the student lives with us in University Housing, we are still bound by FERPA. We cannot provide a student's personal information, including room number, cell phone number, or emergency contact information to anyone. In fact, you'll find that if you call our front desks and ask questions about your student, we won't even confirm or deny that your student even lives in the building!

Why is FERPA a good thing?

Though FERPA may be a little perplexing at first (I pay the bills but can't even know where mystudent is living?!), the legislation itself has provided many positive outcomes. First and foremost is your student's protection and privacy. Let's say that a random stranger calls the front desk and wants to know where your student lives. I don't think anyone would want us to willingly give up that information! Now let's say that this random stranger says that they are the parent of that student and can prove it! It doesn't matter to us. We will still refuse to provide any personal information on your student because their privacy and safety means more to us than possibly upsetting the person on the other line.

A second positive outcome of FERPA is the fact that because third-parties representing their students need to jump through so many hoops, it has become far simpler for the student themselves to take ownership over their college experience and advocate for themselves. All offices on campus can provide much better and personal customer service if we work directly with your student. Sure, you could call and we'd provide you some general information, but we're more than welcoming to any student that approaches us with the same question. Why do you think we went into working with students in the first place?

I understand FERPA but will still need to make sure my student is doing well. How can I do this?

FERPA is not intended to shut family or loved ones out of their student's experience. We know that a student who has support from their family is far more likely to be successful - hence why we partner with parents as much as possible while still adhering to federal regulation. Below are some common areas of concern and some ways in which we best suggest your student address them.

My student is having a roommate problem. What is the best way for them to handle this?

Since no two roommate conflicts are exactly alike (but many have a similar root cause), we've created a whole page for you to check out! Please view our guide to roommate relations here.

I haven't spoken to my student in a while and I'm worried about them. Can you check on them?

As mentioned previously, if you call our front desks, we won't even be able to confirm or deny that your student lives in the building. We will gladly take a message for your student (if they do live in the building) but we cannot go to your student's room, check on them, and call you back. Doing so would be a violation of FERPA (as we would have inadvertently disclosed your student's building assignment) and is also not within the authority of Residence Life staff. If you are sincerely worried about your student, you may contact the Florida State University Police Department at (850) 644-1234. FSU PD officers are authorized to conduct welfare checks on students.

My student has run afoul of the Student Code of Conduct and is going through the conduct process. I would like information on this, as well as a description of what my student allegedly did.

Students can work with their Residence Coordinator to secure a FERPA waiver that allows the Coordinator to discuss the incident with an authorized contact. Please understand that the waiver only applies to the student who signed it; therefore, other students involved in a situation are still protected by FERPA. If your student is not comfortable signing this waiver, then we can still answer general questions about the conduct process, including what the process looks like, possible consequences, and can answer questions related to conduct charges. We are not authorized, unless a waiver has been signed and is still valid, to communicate the outcome of a conduct hearing and sanctions that have been imposed upon a student.

Would I still be contacted in the case of an emergency?

Of course! Though we are unable to release most of a student's educational record, students are required to designate at least one emergency contact when they check-in to the residence halls. This emergency contact will be notified if a student has experienced a medical emergency (both physical and mental) that involves transport to a local hospital. If a student is physically arrested and taken to jail, an emergency notification would be made as well. Finally, if there is reason to suspect a student may be missing, an emergency contact may be made as well. All efforts are made to ensure these notifications ensure as soon as possible once Residence Life staff is made aware of the situation.

Safety is a lock and your student is the key. University Housing in conjunction with the FSU Police Department provides a myriad of services intent on keeping students safe on- and off-campus. Below you will find information on residence hall safety as well as campus resources and programs that augment our current security procedures.

Residence Hall Safety

Your student's safety is University Housing's utmost priority. We pride ourselves on residence halls that are not only clean, attractive, and conducive to academic success, but also ones that remain safe and secure. Teaching and reinforcing these five simple steps will help your student ensure that their time at Florida State is a safe and productive one.

Lock your doors!

Unauthorized access to student rooms and thefts happen mostly to students who fail to lock their room doors. Because your student will be surrounded by many new friends, it easy for them to be lulled into a false sense of security or to think that no one they know would be capable of stealing from them. One way our staff drives this point home is to have your student think of the five most valuable things in their room and to consider how they would feel if those items disappeared. Failing to lock doors is also a frequent cause of roommate conflict.

Don't allow tailgating!

"Tailgating" is a term used to refer to non-residents following residents into the hall, thus gaining access due to a resident's kind spirit. Unfortunately, miscreants can take advantage of your student's generosity and gain access to the building simply because a door is left open or propped. For this reason, University Housing prohibits doors from being propped open. Locking mechanisms should not be tampered with and should remain fully functional at all times.

Leave your information off of social media, online profiles, etc.

Students are often very proud of their Housing assignment and can't wait to share it with all their friends. Posting information such as room numbers, hall assignments, or cell phone numbers is not recommended as it provides any individual with an exact location of your student's whereabouts. Online applications that allow "checking-in" at a certain location can further compromise your student's safety.

Escort your guests!

While students may find it convenient to simply ask their friends to come directly to their room, University Housing prohibits non-residents from wandering the halls unless they are being escorted by their host. This is true for parents, as well. Think about it - if our staff sees an unknown, older individual in the halls, our first inclination will be to notify FSU Police as that person clearly does not belong in the halls unescorted! All residence halls are accessed by card-swipe access and those who do not have access to the halls should not be allowed to enter.

Notify your front desk of suspicious activity.

Every residence hall has a front desk staffed 24/7. Students who work the desk are trained in crisis management and emergency procedures, and act as an excellent resource in keeping your student safe and secure. Any suspicious activity, or activity that violates University Housing policies, should be reported to the front desk so that it can be addressed immediately. Front desk phone numbers can be found on each individual hall's web page.

Florida State University Police Department

The FSU Police Department is a fully-accredited law enforcement agency with a focus on proactive crime prevention techniques. Over forty law enforcement officers provide 24/7 coverage of the entire Florida State campus and surrounding area. FSU PD enforces all federal, state, and local laws using campus-wide patrol and community crime prevention programs. FSU PD apprehends criminals, serves search warrants, and investigate crimes that occur within its jurisdiction.

Public Safety Officers are uniformed employees that provide an additional layer of security for Florida State students and staff. They provide services such as parking lot patrols and increased security around Strozier Library during peak hours.

The Florida State University Police Department has a focus on increasing communication between its agency and students. Residence halls have an "Adopt-A-C.O.P.P.," a sworn member of the FSU Police Department that volunteers to provide additional security to each residence halls by performing extra building checks and alerts staff of potentially unsafe conditions. The Adopt-A-C.O.P.P. makes a concerted effort to be a presence in their assigned residence hall by providing face-to-face interaction with residence students and providing services such as property engraving and registration. Contact information for Adopt-A-C.O.P.P.s can be found here.

Safety on Campus

The Blue Light Trailprovides immediate connection to the FSU PD dispatch center. Students who are unable to access or use their cell phone may go to one of over 450 Blue Lights around campus. The reason these lights are sometimes referred to as a "Blue Light Trail" is because students who are unable to wait where they are for police to respond are encouraged to move quickly between lights hitting the call button, which will alert responding officers to the path the student is taking so that contact can be made quickly.

Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes are offered for no fee by officers of the Florida State University Police Department. Nationally-certified instructors teach this female-only course that focuses on fighting back, and fighting back effectively! This hands-on self-defense training is offered multiple times a semester. For more information on class information, please consult the FSU PD web page.

The S.A.F.E. Connection is a free safe transportation service provided to students. This partnership between the Student Government Association and FSU PD allows students to be safety escorted to their destination between 7:00 PM and 3:00 AM, seven days a week. Rides and escorts can be obtained by calling 850-644-SAFE.

FSU Guardian is a service offered by FSUPD that provides an additional layer of safety when traveling on-campus. Students can fill out an online profile that details a personal description to be transmitted to FSU PD in the case of emergency. Students with a cell phone that has GPS-tracking technology can be immediately found in the event that they are calling with an emergency, or cannot otherwise communicate their location. It also provides a "timer" service that students can set when traveling across campus where an FSU PD dispatcher will call and check-in if they fail to reach their destination in the time allotted for themselves.

The Citizen's Police Academy provides an open-door look into the operations of the Florida State University Police Department. This initiative serves as an effort to increase communication and understanding between students and the campus police department. Students are allowed many "hands-on" methods for experiencing police work first-hand.

Further questions regarding residence hall or campus safety can be referred to the Residence Life Office at 850-644-2863 or FSU PD at 850-644-1234.

Frequently Visited Housing Pages

Meal Plan Requirements

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Learn about meal plan requirements for residents of some Residence Halls.

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Important Dates

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View all important dates for the current academic year.

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Student Mailing Address

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Be sure to learn your new student mailing address!

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Roommate Relationships

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View all the ways to build a stronger roommate relationship.

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FSU Resources


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Visit the Office of New Student & Family Programs (NSFP) site to learn how they can aid in the transition of our new students and their family members.

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Seminole Dining

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Visit the Seminole Dining site to learn about meal plans and wide variety of options in our 25 campus dining locations.

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Visitor Center

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Whether you plan to visit for a few hours or a few days, make Visitor Services your first stop and allow our staff to officially welcome you to Florida State.

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Visit the Transportation & Parking Services site to learn about parking permits, Seminole Express Bus Service, and all other Transportation Services offered by FSU.

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Support Student & Leadership Programs

By taking advantage of FSU's partnership with On Campus Marketing (OCM), families can support their student AND University Housing Leadership Programs! All in one convenient place, our fundraising programs connect new students and families with all the move-in essentials they need to be ready for Check–In and a successful school year. Proceeds from these fundraising programs support IRHC's and NRHH's efforts to provide great programs and leadership opportunities for students. Explore these great products and services, and thank you for your support of Leadership Programs!

Finding attractive quality linens that fit your student's twin extra-long mattress can be a challenge. With Residence Hall Linens, students and families have a convenient option for finding all your campus living needs- linens, decor, and much more! Great options of patterns and colors to create your ideal space! Visit FSU's Residence Hall Linens store to learn more. Looking to place a new order or have questions/concerns about an existing order? Call 800-847-0751.

Please utilize your home address for shipping purposes.

Share your love and support all year long through our Care Package program. Care packages from home can be a great way to show your student you are thinking of them while they are away at school. We offer a wide variety of options that will fit any budget and satisfy your student's cravings. We even have options for multiple dietary needs. Visit FSU's Care Package store to learn more. Looking to place a new order or have questions/concerns about an existing order? Call 877-942-7887.

Most of our residence hall rooms are uncarpeted. Ordering an area rug through our Collegiate Carpet program can help make your room feel like home. Carpet orders will be delivered to campus and will be waiting for you when you arrive. Please note: the Collegiate Carpet program is only available for Fall Opening. Visit FSU's Collegiate Carpet store to learn more. Looking to place a new order or have questions/concerns about an existing order? Call 800-892-8730.

Carbonite Online Backup is a virtual system for student work which automatically backs-up computer files every evening. With connectivity for both Macs and PCs, this service allows students to know their work and files are safely in place when needed. Visit FSU's Campus Back-Up store to learn more. Looking to place a new order or have questions/concerns about an existing order? Call 866-847-7365.

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Division of Student Affairs at Florida State University


University Housing Department
Division of Student Affairs
109 Askew Student Life Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Phone: 850–644–2860
Fax: 850–644–7997

University Housing: