Residence hall prices to rise 4 percent

Eastern Michigan University’s Board of Regents approved a 4 percent increase in the university residence halls’ room and board rates for the 2014-15 academic year at its regular meeting Tuesday. The increase is designed to pay for increased food costs, deferred maintenance expenses and a future plan to upgrade residence halls and dining facilities.

Improvements to residence halls and dining are funded through the university’s auxiliary budget, which is paid for by housing and dining fees.

With the 4 percent price increase, a standard 18-meal plan, double-occupancy room in central campus residence halls will cost a total of $8,941 per student.

Rates for apartments on campus will range from $1,800 to $3,000 per semester, and do not require a meal plan.

Planned projects for the next five years could include resident hall renovations in Wise, Buell and Downing halls, according to an EMU press release following the Tuesday Board of Regents meeting. These projects could also include renovations to Brown-Munson and Westview apartments and Eastern Eateries and Dining Commons.

Additionally, the recommended increase in residence hall prices approved by the Board of Regents includes a change in apartment rental on campus. The approved recommendation states that the increase “moves the apartment rental from a lease-based to a contract-based agreement.”

EMU students planning to live in the apartments on campus will now be required to sign a contract with the university, just as they would if they planned to live in a residence hall.

According to an EMU press release Tuesday, the change to contract-based agreements means student residents living in apartments will no longer be held responsible for paying the rent of a student roommate who leaves the university.

Several students expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision. Zoey Styrk, a sophomore fashion merchandising major who has lived on EMU’s campus for two years, decided to move off campus after hearing about the increase. Prior to that, she had considered staying in a campus apartment or The Village.

Styrk has mixed feelings about leaving the residence halls.

“There are a lot of things about it that aren’t practical but a lot that are,” Styrk said. “It’s a really good way to meet people.”

Still, parking difficulties, having to live with multiple roommates or suitemates, the lack of a kitchen in each room and the now-increased expenses are keeping her from returning to the residence halls.

Styrk is not the only one leaving the residence halls after the rate increase.

Tashie White, a sophomore occupational therapy major and Pittman Hall resident, said many people she knew were not pleased with the price increase.

“Everybody kind of feels that way,” White said. “A lot of people aren’t coming back or staying on campus for that reason.”

First Year Center resident Michaela Jones, a freshman social work major, will continue to live in the residence halls due to the convenience, but she expressed her concern about the rising housing rates.

“I’m already struggling with what [financial aid] is giving me, so the fact that housing is going up isn’t going to make things easier,” Jones said.

Jones feels students who live in residence halls are not getting what they’re paying for.

“The rooms are really small, so the fact that rates are going up doesn’t match the quality,” Jones said. “They’re like jail cells.”

Fellow FYC resident Monika Ceccarelli, a freshman forensic psychology major, had similar feelings.

“I think it’s kinda crazy,” Ceccarelli said. “I live in Walton and I don’t think it’s worth it. Our heat [has] been out three times this semester. I don’t think it’s worth it if they can’t keep up on that stuff.”

News Editor Nora Naughton contributed reporting to this article.

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