Residence Halls Association approves cost increases

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 10:14pm

The Residence Halls Association presented and passed its official decision to endorse a 3-percent increase for room and board rates for the 2018-2019 academic year at Couzens Residence Hall on Thursday evening.

The RHA recommendations, authored by LSA sophomore Sujay Shetty, president of the RHA, and RHA representatives Rabi Osagie and Dylan Rushton, Engineering freshmen, include a 1-percent increase for operational purposes and a 2-percent increase for Residential Life Initiatives — a program dedicated to improving the residential living experience at the University of Michigan.

Shetty said in a press release the resolution will be presented to the Board of Regents, who will ultimately make a final decision on room and board rates.

Currently, the average cost of a single room is $12,974, a double is $10,872 per occupant and a triple is $9,612, dependent on size and whether the rooms include private bathrooms. The average costs for next year are expected to increase to $13,363 for a single, $11,198 for a double and $9,900 for a triple.

The cost hike is necessary to maintaining a high standard of living in the residence halls, with the 3-percent increase identical to the rate increases in the past two years, according to Shetty.

“The rate increase reflects the increasing cost of operations and improvements to the residence halls,” Shetty said.

Rushton said the RHA’s goal is to maintain a high standard of living and food quality for residents while keeping costs under control as much as possible.

“Ultimately, we want things to be affordable,” Rushton said. “If students are to come to this university they need to be able to pay for it — and not just through receiving aid.”

While the rate of inflation in the United States has been 2.2 percent, Rushton said this 3-percent increase in funding is expected and will likely remain at a similar level in the future.  

“It is a continual effort; it’s not something where we say ‘well now we never need to improve again,’ ” Rushton said. “We don’t see a foreseeable drop in the future because we always need to be improving.”

While the RHA committee approved of the 1-percent operations increase, they conditionally endorsed the 2-percent RLI increase if, in the long term, an alternative source of funding can be found.

“A one percent increase to room and board rates for operational purposes is modest,” the committee’s recommendations stated. “The Committee approves the two percent rates increase for RLI this coming year, although expects a new financing solution to be fully fledged to the satisfaction of the residential student body.”

The passed resolution also states the RHA believes the burden of the RLI costs should not continue to fall on University residents, and there should be an alteration in the future.

“RHA believes that the current system of annual 2% increases in Room and Board Rates for the Residence Life Initiative (RLI) is not sustainable long term, and that the burden of RLI improvements should not continue to fall upon the residents of the university,” the passed resolution states.