The Board of Regents recently approved a four percent increase in on-campus housing rates and a five percent increase for meal plans. The money generated by the increase will go toward renovations of on-campus housing and cover the increasing cost of food. While I do understand that up keeping facilities is an important part of running a university, I cannot help being skeptical of the increase.
We live in a time where many people are buried in student loan debt. It’s such a problem that many people are questioning whether college is worth the cost anymore. In times such as these, I think the last thing colleges need to be doing is increasing the cost of something as vital as on-campus housing and meal plan costs, especially for something as vague as renovations.
The cost of on-campus housing along with the meal plans students are required to buy was already expensive before this increase. I personally pay much less living in an off-campus apartment and buying my own food than I did living in the dorms. Having students pay more to live in a place that is smaller than the average apartment simply does not make sense to me.
I do understand renovations are important, but if there’s going to be such a large jump in cost I think we have a right to know what exactly the renovation entails. The original article by Geoff Larcom lists some of the renovations that have happened in the past, but I’m wondering what they are planning to do in the future.
I would feel much more comfortable with the increase if there was a specific renovation they were planning. For example, if they are planning to redo the flooring in Wise Hall, they should say so instead of simply increasing housing costs for renovations.
I believe using a word as vague as “renovations” makes students think their money will be put to use, but often times leaves them wondering what exactly is being done. Just last year there was an increase of 3.75 percent for room-and-board rates for the 2014-2015 school year. That is an increase of about $311 per person, and if the rates keep increasing each year for some elusive renovations those costs will add up.
New ways of keeping our student housing satisfactory need to be found. Students are already paying enough money to live on campus. Instead of increasing the rates each year, we should look into ways that students can personally help keep the on-campus housing decent without putting students further into debt.