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Housing rates proposed to increase

A new proposal approved by the Finance and Audit Workgroup of the Board of Trustees (BOT) last week could see on-campus housing prices increase by a weighted average
of 3.1 percent.

The proposal features decreasing some living units by 2 percent while increasing other higher-demand options by up to 16 percent in an effort to generate additional revenue for improving Housing

We recognize that it is important for us to have a wide range of price points with regards to our housing facilities to meet the demands of not only our returning students, but our first year students as well, Dean of Housing and Residential Education Ana Hernandez said. Last year we did a comprehensive facilities audit, and there was a significant deferred maintenance backlog that was identified. What were trying to do is raise some funds so we can invest back into those

The single Holly and Magnolia apartments will see a 2 percent decrease in price, while the single Cypress, Kosove, and Magnolia family apartments will see no increase in prices next year. Greek Village will keep its yearly lease rates frozen as well. The Andros double rooms will increase by 3 percent, the Castor and Beta double rooms will increase by 5 percent, the Andros single, super single and Castor single will increase by 5.5 percent, the Kosove double apartments will increase by 7.5 percent, the Juniper-Poplar double suites will increase by 8 percent, the Cypress double suites will increase by 12.5 percent and Maple double suites will increase by 16 percent.

Housing will also introduce two new corner double suite options in Juniper-Poplar and Cypress, and a new two single, one bath Holly option.

We very intentionally were trying to align some of our rates and make like spaces with similar demand at like price points, Hernandez said.

Though Housing prices were frozen between 2011-12 and 2012-13, prices have increased between 1 to 8 percent a year since 2007 for most residence facilities on campus.

Hernandez said Housing recognizes that the rates on-campus have outpaced off-campus rate increases, but said the experience provided on campus is different.

I would contend its a different experience on-campus than off-campus with regard to the level of support, convenience, access, etc, she said. Its a different experience on-campus, but we wanted to also recognize that we didnt want to continue on that trajectory, so were recommending a 2 percent decrease in our Holly and Magnolia single apartments.

A testament to the experience provided, she said, is the fact that upperclassman housing was filled within three days of requests being sent out with more than 500 people on a wait-list.

Because we have a first-year live-on requirement, that is our primary commitment, she said. Its so important for the first-year students to be able to acclimate. Theyre more successful if they have the residential experience. The projection that has been shared with us is that were looking at somewhere close to 4,200 first-time in-college students between summer and fall semesters. We do our calculations based on how many we anticipate to be in the three-county area. Its not an exact science. Thats why we have to reserve so many beds … History shows us, that weve had some cancellations and we will be able to accommodate some of (the waitlisted upperclassmen). We may even have cancellations from rate structures.

Alie Haynes, a sophomore majoring in pre-nursing and a Cypress resident, said she thinks the price increases for Housing are terrible, but said she plans to continue hoping for a spot on the wait list to open as she said she thinks on-campus housing is a better deal overall.

Cassandra Sharpe, a freshman majoring in history said she plans to live off campus next year because she hates the pricing.

The price Im paying now, I can get off-campus with a bigger room, my own bathroom and its fully furnished.

Housing is currently at 104 percent capacity, Hernandez said, and while the additional revenues raised from the price increases could have been used toward raising revenue to build new residence facilities, Hernandez said some of the facilities issues were more pressing.

For us, housing is more than four walls and a bed, she said. Its about the student experience. We would love to offer that to as many people as possible … We could either afford to build, or we could address some of our deferred maintenance issues. But if we built, we wouldnt be able to do that, and were always going to have some of these deferred maintenance issues.

Though she said the facilities improvements may come in unnoticed forms, such as replaced door handles or water tanks, new flooring or furniture, Hernandez said students would notice if the issues continued to build.

The proposal will be presented by the BOT workgroup at the March 21 BOT meeting, and if it passes will be sent to the Board of Governors for approval in May.