“The board of trustees moved to increase the cost of room and board Wednesday during their regular meeting. Housing rates will increase five percent and meal plans will go up four percent starting in the 2008 fall semester. Room fees rose four percent last year and board fees were up six percent.””
The board of trustees moved to increase the cost of room and board Wednesday during their regular meeting. Housing rates will increase five percent and meal plans will go up four percent starting in the 2008 fall semester.
Room fees rose four percent last year and board fees were up six percent. The rise in cost was attributed to the rising cost of utility fees and paying off renovations and expansions.
Rate increases have ranged between four and 12 percent since Fall 2004, Director of residence life and housing, John Messina, said. They reflect changes in overall operating costs in the facilities, including staffing, utilities, supplies, security, cable, phone and debt service associated with the facilities.
We have tried to keep the increase as low as possible, said Zia Ahmed, UA’s director of Dining Services. As everyone knows, food prices are increasing rapidly – they rose 4.9 percent nationally last year, and they jumped 5.3 percent the first three months of 2008. We are able to hold down our increase because we operate efficiently.
Garson Residence Hall will not be affected by the rate increase next year.
It is the only facility that is not projected to have significant operating increases, Messina said.
Meal plans will take on a larger change in the coming school year. According a press release from the University of Akron, students, parents, the Associated Student Government, and University Dining Services have redesigned UA’s dining plans. Traditional meal plans, with the exception of the 10-meal option will now come with $100 dollars in Dining Dollars, which can be used at any on campus dining facility and over 40 off campus vendors. The additional $100 is included in the four percent increase.
Until now, the Dining Dollars option has been available to Gold Plan subscribers only, Ahmed said in a press release Wednesday. Students have told us that they love the flexibility of Dining Dollars, so we have made this option part of the traditional plans as well.
As well, the more popular dining plan, the Gold Plan, now gives students $1,400 in dining dollars and a 25 percent discount at Robertson’s Café and the Trackside Grille Buffet at Quaker Square. It will cost $1,850 per semester in the fall.
According to UA’s press release, the extra $450 charged to students for the Gold Plan will pay for updated dinning facilities, incentives and salaries for student employees, student requested conveniences such as extended hours, and advanced dining services staff training.
However, students that are planning on living in campus housing will still have to pay for a meal plan.
Our focus continues to be providing the level of services students expect in the facilities, activities and programs. Our difficult balance is that there are very real costs associated with operating the residence halls, to which only student room fees are able to offset such costs, Messina said. We understand that cost is a consideration for our residential students, and we have set the lowest possible rate we were able to offer to break even.