North Texas Daily

Inflating housing rates

Inflating housing rates

Inflating housing rates
August 28
01:10 2014

Olivia Sylvain / Staff Writer

As UNT students prepared for the 2014-2015 academic year, some may have noticed slight university-wide increases in housing and dining costs. In the last 10 years, national housing and tuition rates have increased 3.2 percent per year, according to The College Board. This increase has a lot to do with inflation, which affects housing costs significantly.

Housing rates are subject to increase due to higher costs for necessities such as water and electricity. Residence halls at UNT provide amenities such as Internet, cable, kitchens, and laundry facilities. Housing accountant John Cox, who makes the department’s budget along with housing director Elizabeth Warren, said these costs and the potential need for renovations are factored in the total housing price in order to make prices reasonable.

“Our primary aim when creating our budget is to keep prices as low as possible and still provide as many services as we can,” Cox said.

Residence halls such as Bruce Hall have undergone renovations recently, a cost that is predicted in the yearly budget and reflected in the cost of housing. These improvements are called capital expenditures and are seen as an investment in the well-being of each facility.

“We have to plan for improvements because these buildings get old, and we have to go in and fix them,” Cox said. “Right now, our buildings are in good shape, but that costs money.”

Housing is independently funded, according to Warren. All funds that go toward maintaining facilities and providing student amenities come directly from student housing payments.

“A lot of people like to say [renovations] are a waste of taxpayer money, but we’re not using tax money. It’s student rent money,” Warren said.

The housing budget also includes a fund for student activities in each residence hall. Residence Life Coordinator Carmen Garza said although students don’t have a lot of power in deciding where money goes, they can still contribute to the housing experience.

“If students have ideas for programs, they can take them to their RAs,” Garza said. “We can make it happen as long as it follows certain guidelines.”

Garza also encouraged students to go to housing administration if they want to see changes within their residence halls. Housing is already in the process of working with LGBT students to meet their requests for gender-neutral housing, a process that started last fall.

Students can also expect to see many more renovations to residence halls across campus due to an 8-year plan of renovations, Warren said.

Featured Image: Crumley Hall, located at 1621 W. Highland St., is home to the housing department. The housing offices are located in the southwest corner of the building on the first floor. File Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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