Regents to vote on fall room, board increase

Eastern Michigan University students will see their 2012-13 academic year rates for residence halls, meal plans and apartments increase 4.95 percent if approved by the Board of Regents at its Tuesday meeting.

During the current 2011-12 academic year, students with single rooms in Hoyt, Hill and Pittman Halls and Platinum 18 meal plans paid $9,546. Students interested in staying in these dorms with the Platinum 18 plan will see their rates increase $473 to $10,019.

Residents staying in an upgraded executive one bedroom apartment in Munson will see rates increase $40 from the current monthly rate of $805 to $845.

Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations, said the increase is needed in order to meet the increasing costs of energy, food, supplies and a “significant amount” of deferred maintenance expenses.

“It’s what’s required to meet all of the financial obligations and maintain the upkeep on all of the facilities in a prudent yet intelligent manner,” Larcom said. “It’s really important to note that Eastern Michigan, in terms of its overall costs in the last three years, we added the least of any public universities in the state of Michigan… So a 4.95 increase, you’re not adding it on to a very high base so that’s something that should be remembered.”

The action line item, which is being proposed by Chief Financial Officer John Lumm, outlines several fiscal implications and outcomes from the increase in rates. By raising the rates, the university will be able to maintain an occupancy rate of 94 percent for residence halls and 95 percent for apartments.

Larcom said currently the university is hitting its occupancy rates.

“Yes, it’s fair to say that on the whole that’s occurring,” he said. “There’s certain ones that may have more or less, but on the whole that appears to be the case so what you want to do is keep that up.”

The university is projecting that about 3,500 students will stay on campus during the 2012-13 academic year. Currently, approximately 3,100 students stay in the residence halls and campus apartments.

Another goal is to increase long term student recruitment and retention by reinvesting in auxiliary facilities.

“There’s a separate budget for housing and dining,” Larcom said. “Those entities pay for themselves, they’re not paid for with general fund money. You want to increase student retention by having good food and residence halls while spending prudently and making appropriate improvements. It would be very irresponsible for us to build an opulent place but on the other hand, you do want to have good attractive residence halls with good accommodations. We want to make sure we have funds to do that.”

If approved, the university also has plans to continue renovating the residence halls and dining facilities over the course of the next five years.

“Projected renovations [will occur] in Best Hall, Wise hall, Buell Hall, Downing, as well as further improvements in the Eateries and the Commons,” Larcom said.

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