Student housing fees to increase 3 percent

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 10:18pm

The Residential Halls Association announced Tuesday that student housing fees at the University of Michigan will increase by 3 percent next year.

The average on campus residence hall will cost about $10,870, according to the University. Housing costs for the 2015-2016 school year averaged $10,554. The increase is one percent more than the 2 percent average University housing rate increase each year, 2 percent has been the average every year since 2003. 

RHA hosted a presentation Tuesday for students to discuss their approval of the increased housing fees, noting that housing fees pay for a variety of essentials but also help fund dorm renovations, as part of the Residential Life Initiatives.

According to presenters, compared to other Big Ten schools’ housing fees the University ranked sixth most expensive both this past year and for the projected future.

Ohio State University, Rutgers University and Northwestern University each had more expensive housing fees than the University, with Northwestern’s projected housing rate topping out at $15,412 for the 2016-2017 academic year.

RHA adviser Beth Radecki, who is also South Quad Residence Hall’s Director, said she attended the discussion because she wanted to see the results of the organization’s work on behalf of the students they represent.

“Housing rates typically don’t stay the same from year to year,” Radecki said. “I think they did a great job explaining where we fall within the different institutions and also talking about the reasoning how we ended up there too.”

In addition to approving the housing fee increase to $10,870, the RHA also discussed other proposals for next year, including upgraded drinking fountains with water bottle fillers and extended Java Blu hours when dining halls are closed.

RHA President Lennox Ramsey, an Engineering sophomore, said proposals they’ve gotten approved by University Housing thus far include shifted weekend dining hall hours and giving residents access to any residential hall on campus so they can make use of the different resources each provides. Residents however will not all have access to single gender halls which include Martha Cook, Betsy Barbour and Helen Newberry.

“(Students) can eat earlier in the morning, the lobby areas of other halls are going to open up — you won’t have to wait outside anymore,” he said.

Ramsey said though he was confident the housing price hike is needed due to a heightened cost of living and operating costs, discussions like Tuesday’s were important to give more context to students who might face financial pressure from the change.

“It’s a time for us to let the residents know why exactly we’re seeing even more of their money go to their room and board,” Ramsey said. “It’s still something they’re going to feel coming in, so that’s why we spent the past three months working with housing and dining and making sure everything they’re doing to increase that dollar is completely necessary.”

This article has been updated to state only residents will have access to residential halls — not non-residents as the article originally stated.