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One step closer

USF’s Finance and Audit Workgroup passed the 2010-11 Housing Rate proposal Friday, making a 6 percent increase in on-campus housing costs even more likely for students. 
The proposal’s last stop will be USF’s Board of Trustees, who will discuss it and make a final decision in a meeting March 18.
The University is also proposing to increase its number of beds, said USF Dean of Housing and Residential Education Ana Hernandez. Right now, there are 5,347 beds, but USF wants to add another 1,000.
In the proposal, the Andros residence halls, which cost $4,048 per year, would receive the smallest percentage increase — an estimated 5.53 percent — to raise rent costs to $4,272 a year. The biggest change — a 6.93 percent increase — would go to the Maple Suites, which cost $4,384 a year. The rent would be raised to $4,688 per year.
Increases in housing rates are not uncommon. For the last two academic years, on-campus housing rates have increased by 8 percent. Hernandez said the need for an increase in rates for the upcoming year comes from rising utility costs, debt payments and facility infrastructure issues.
The $65 million Juniper-Poplar Residence Hall, which opened last semester, sparked some debt and the need for an increase, Hernandez said.
By increasing the rates, the University can build reserve funds for future problems that may occur and upcoming renovations to the Andros area, Hernandez said.  Annually, campus housing collects about $24 million to $25 million in rent, she said.
Associate Director of Facilities and Maintenance Kelly Best said the dorms are in “definite” need of repair.
“We’re going to try to address the ongoing issues and continue to try to address plumbing issues, electricity and air-handling units,” Hernandez said. “We are looking at trying to re-carpet some areas and add TVs to Holly lounges.”