An Inside Look at the Frueaff Scholarship House with Joqsan Albaladejo

Florida State University is a bustling campus, and with over 40,000 students, it is often expensive (and difficult) to secure a spot in a dorm for on-campus living. Therefore, many students turn to off-campus housing as an alternative. However, the search for an off-campus abode can uncover a slew of potential roadblocks and problems. Most notably, off-campus housing close to the university can be shockingly expensive. Students may discover that they are unable to afford the monthly rent of an apartment or house that is close enough to campus for commuting.

Not unlike many other incoming students, freshman Joqsan Albaladejo found himself looking for an affordable way to live off-campus and commute to class. Turning to the Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF), Joqsan was able to make his quest for off-campus living a bit easier. SSF offers students rent-free living through their partnerships with Florida State University, University of Florida, Santa Fe College and others. The foundation has been operating for over 60 years and currently has 25 housing locations around various universities in Florida.

We interviewed Joqsan in order to ask him everything he knows about the scholarship house and his experience with life there thus far. Below are Joqsan’s insights and thoughts in response to my interview questions.

Her Campus (HC): Tell me a bit about yourself. What year are you, what is your major, and what is your career goal?

Joqsan Albaladejo (JA): Currently, I am majoring in Political Science, but I plan to double major in Criminology and possibly minor in International Affairs. I want to eventually go to Law School. My three top career goals are to either become a United States Attorney General, United State Supreme Court Justice or to serve as Chief of Staff.


HC: How did you learn about the Southern Scholarship House and when did you apply for the scholarship?

JA: I learned about the Southern Scholarship Foundation through the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE). They told me about it during an event called the FGen2FSU where they told CARE students like myself what scholarships we were eligible for, as well as how to succeed and save money. I started my application to the Southern Scholarship Foundation the day I got home and worked on it until the submission deadline.

HC: What were your expectations before going to live in the scholarship house? Have your expectations been met?

JA: Before coming to live at SSF, I expected there to be a helping hand along the way, either in my house or in the organization itself. My house and the Southern Scholarship Foundation, in general, have surpassed my expectations. Everyone in my house has been nothing but nice, and the older residents helped out the newer ones. The Student Affairs Director for the North Florida campus, Liovani Nazario, has been wonderful, warm and welcoming. She and the whole SSF staff do so much for the students so to know they have a safe place to live and thrive while living away from home.

HC: How is the house set up? Tell me any amenities and special perks of living there.

JA: My scholarship house is set up in a suite-style fashion, where four people share a sink area and a bathroom. In my house, there is a full-sized kitchen with multiple ovens and refrigerators. There is also a study room, a living room that comes with a TV, and a dining table for all the house members to eat on. Being a resident, we do not ever have to pay rent. All we pay is a food and utility bill along with a security deposit. With the money each resident pays, the business managers buy food for the house every weekend. The foundation makes sure that no matter what day it is, each resident has enough food for three meals a day and snacks in between.

HC: What is your favorite thing about living in the house?

JA: My favorite part about living in the house is the fact that I am saving so much more money than I would have been if I had chosen to live in a dorm or apartment complex. I also like that we are right across from FSU’s stadium, so it is convenient to go to the games.

HC: Has the scholarship house played a role in helping you establish friendships at the start of college? Why or why not?

JA: The house has helped my roommate and I grow closer and understand each other more. I have definitely made friends with some of the guys in the house, so it does not feel like I am living with total strangers.

HC: How has living in the house made your transition into college life easier or more difficult?

JA: I feel like the Southern Scholarship Foundation made my transition to college much easier because it makes college a reality and less of a financial burden as a student. The CARE program alongside SSF has made it possible for me to attend a university and pursue my dreams.

HC: What kinds of events does the scholarship house put on special events for residents?

JA: The Southern Scholarship Foundation always has fun social events for the residents of each house to come together and have a good time. During the first week, we had an ice cream social. We also had a vision board social and waffle making social. In October we will be having a bed race and a Super Smash Brothers tournament. I have enjoyed every social event I have attended.

HC: Would you have been able to attend FSU without the scholarship house?

JA: If not for the Southern Scholarship Foundation, I would not be able to afford to attend Florida State University or to pursue my career goals. I would have been forced to stay in my hometown and go to the local state college. While there is nothing wrong with attending a state or community college, the goals I have for myself are far beyond the capacity of what a community college can offer me. Being an SSF resident also means that I can afford to study abroad and grow as a person while building a global perspective.

HC: Would you recommend the Frueauff Scholarship House to other students? Why or why not?

JA: I would definitely recommend SSF and Frueauff to anyone because it is a great way to save thousands of dollars while being a college student. It is also a good way to make friends if you do not know that many people and learn how to cook if you do not already know how.

HC: In what ways have the staff of the Southern Scholarship Foundation been generous or helpful in your college transition?

JA: My house manager has gone out of his way to make sure myself and every new resident feel included. The whole staff of SSF genuinely cares about their residents and tries their hardest to make sure students are able to afford to go to college and make their dreams come true. Every staff member is wonderful and loves to help the residents.

All images are courtesy of Joqsan Albaladejo.

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