housing_rate_changes

Residential Services plans to significantly change housing rates to accommodate students’ financial packages, implementing a new two-rate model.

Photo: Carson Kahoe

A new housing rate structure will make on-campus living cheaper for some, but more expensive for others.

Residential Services is announcing a significant change to housing rates designed to accommodate students’ financial packages. The new two-rate model has just two price rates for on-campus college house residences, replacing a system with six different rates. As of Oct. 14, Residential Services projects these new rates will be $9,452 and $13,234 per resident per academic year.

The rates — which usually rise about four percent per year — are not set in stone until the Board of Trustees meets in the spring semester, but regardless of the exact prices, 83 percent of all beds in the college house system will be priced at the lower rate and 17 percent at the higher rate.

The $9,452 rate is around the amount that a student on financial aid will be rewarded for on-campus housing. In the old housing rate structure, the financial aid allocated for housing was based on the median room rate of college houses instead.

Factoring out the yearly increase in housing rates, 73 percent of upperclassmen residents will have their rate decrease or remain the same, whereas 27 percent will see a price increase.

“The primary reason we’re doing this is for access and affordability,” Director of Residential Services John Eckman said. “We want to make sure that as many room-types as possible can be afforded by all students, especially in situations where you’re required to live on campus.”

Residential Services also hopes that the change will make the rate structure more simplified and intuitive for families trying to afford on-campus housing.

“There will be no financial gain for the University because of this change — it’s about access, not about the housing budget,” Director of Communications for Business Services Barbara Lea-Kruger said. Residential Services projects a decrease in revenue due to the new two-rate model, but says it will take on the loss.

Every freshman residence will be priced at the lower rate, as to allow freshmen access to both doubles and singles in first-year houses like Kings Court English House and those in the Quadrangle.

For example, a student living in a large Quad single will now pay the same rate as a resident in a double.

“The Quad has a lot of singles. And with the way room assignment worked, freshman would wind up in singles that their financial aid wouldn’t cover completely — so the new rate structure prevents that by making a single cost as much as a double,” Eckman said. “Really the prices of most rooms are coming down to the price of a Quad double.”

The rate change is a significant increase for many residences of the high rises, but current students living on-campus will be grandfathered in under the old rating system should the change result in a price increase. “Anyone who is currently in one of those units and wishes to remain in one of those units, we will only increase their rate by whatever the Board of Trustees decides the yearly increase to be,” Eckman said. The grandfather rule is meant to benefit juniors who will only be in college houses for one more year.

Apartments where each resident has a private bedroom as well as a private bathroom, living room and kitchen all fall into the higher rate, while every other type of residence will be priced at the lower rate. For example, a three-bedroom quad in the high rises will be charged at the lower rate while the four-bedroom quad will be charged at the higher rate for $3,782 more. Three-bedroom quads will cost about the same as they do now, but four-bedroom quads will increase by almost $1,000 beyond the usual four percent yearly increase in housing prices.

One-bedroom singles with private bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms, along with two-bedroom doubles, three-bedroom triples and four-bedroom quads in the high rises will all be priced at the higher rate. But others, like single rooms in Dubois College House, will cost less.

While it can be difficult to compare on-campus to off-campus living expenses, the higher rate is designed to be at or below the rent prices of private apartment buildings off-campus like the Radian.

A four-bedroom, two-bathroom Radian apartment starts at $1,345 per bedroom per month or $16,140 per year, and a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment starts at $1,915 per bedroom per month or $22,980 per year.

The new rate structure takes into effect fall 2016 for all college house student residences.

There will be information sessions Nov. 10 and 18 for residents with questions about the new rate structure among other issues.

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