I don’t think paying the fee is measured as a sign of interest by admissions, but I don’t know that it isn’t…
If UF is a top choice, I recommend paying the $25 and here’s why: 1) You want your freshman to live on campus if at all possible and by getting the fee in early (now), you will have that option if your kid is accepted. It has been widely studied and proven that kids who live on campus as freshman have better success rates. 2) While UF’s process feels like a bit of a money grab now, it is nothing compared to the financial commitment required for other Florida school’s. For example, if your kid gets accepted to UCF during current rolling admissions, and that’s the preferred “backup,” you will have to put down about $200 to hold a place while you wait for the UF decision at the end of February.
I know of several kids who lost out on getting on campus housing at other schools because they didn’t properly thread the needle with housing deposits.
As a UF alum, it was easy for me to pay it for my kids, as I viewed it as a de facto donation had they not gotten in. Having an early housing fee date absolutely helped my oldest during the process.
If UF is a major reach or not a top choice, then perhaps you hold off. If you think your kid has a shot at UF and it’s a top choice, ante up the $25.