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Friday, December 3, 2021

University to raise housing rates, not tuition

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Article Originally Published by Will Tarpley on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Will Tarpley on North Texas Daily

The Board of Regents voted unanimously to raise the prices of housing and meal plans for the 2022-2023 academic semester at this month’s meeting while declining to vote on a proposal to increase tuition rates. 

The university will increase housing rates by 2.1 percent and dining meal plans by 3 percent during the 2023 financial year, an increase Vice President for Brand Strategy & Communication Jim Berscheidt attributed to a number of factors. 

“Historically, we don’t bring potential room and board increases to the student body because those increases are driven by inflation, cost increases, maintenance and other factors outside of our control, which leaves us no room for negotiation,” Berscheidt said. “As always, we will continue to find ways to lower expenses and keep the room and board costs as low as possible.” 

Currently, a private single occupancy room with a suite cooking area has a nine-month academic year rate of $7,1010, while a simple single occupant room is $6,700. Double occupancy rooms with a cooking area cost $6,340 per academic year and double occupancy rooms without cooking areas cost $6,010. A triple occupancy room currently has a rate of $5,360.

The board briefing included in the meeting presentation lists the increase in housing rates as $66 per semester. 

At the meeting, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Elizabeth With presented the potential increases to housing and dining. Regent A.K. Mago asked for a comparison of on-campus housing versus nearby off-campus apartments. 

“Many of [those apartments] operate by the bed,” With said. “There are some closer to campus, you could get a one-bedroom apartment for $675 [per month] right now. That would be of a lower-level apartment as far as quality. By the bed, you’re going to be paying $500 per bed in any facility. Most of those are two or four beds with your own bathroom and a common living area.”

In comparison, With said a student pays an average of $2700 for a triple occupancy room per semester, $3070 for double occupancy, $3300 with cooking facilities, $3400 for single occupancy and $3500 with cooking facilities.

In attendance, President Neal Smatresk said there are a number of benefits to university dorms, such as residence hall advisors, cleaning staff and “a price point which matches […] in many ways those of not very nice apartments off-campus.” Smatresk also referred to off-campus apartments as “fully depreciated properties.” 

“They are stick-built and have been around for 50 years,” Smatresk said. “We tend to build to a very high standard.” 

Smatresk said there was room in the university portfolio for similar on-campus “stick-built” housing facilities at a more affordable price point for students. 

Dining rates for the unlimited everyday meal plan run an academic year rate of $4,016.08, while weekday meal plans run $3,648.03. The increase is listed as $56 for the former and $51 for the latter on page 181 of the board book

The board book also contains a proposal for increasing board-designated tuition on page 152. Clayton Gibson, the vice president for finance and administration, was set to give the presentation. However, the proposal was not heard at the Board of Regents meeting.

The last tuition increase occurred in the fall of 2019.  Under the new proposal, undergraduates would pay $5.89 more per credit hour, while graduate students would pay $10.21 more per credit hour each semester. 

“The UNT System Board of Regents removed UNT’s proposed tuition increase item from its November agenda,” said Louise Dunn, executive assistant to the president. “UNT officials are continuing to evaluate the university’s needs and may bring the item forward at a later date for the board to consider.”

The next meeting in which the regents could vote on tuition increases is set for Feb. 17-18 of 2022. 

Photo by Ricardo Vazquez Garcia

Source: North Texas Daily

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