Residential Life fails to explain increase in housing prices for the upcoming school year

By Grace Hogsten

Elm Staff Writer

            When many Washington College students prepared to select their housing for the upcoming academic year, they noticed a price increase for on-campus housing. Higher education is already very expensive, so many students are left wondering why the prices for room and board continue to rise.

            Housing prices are going up by $250 per semester, Director of Residential Life Amy Sine said. She explained that this increase in pricing is typical for campus housing.

            “[Housing] prices did go up this year,” Sine said. “Every year the finance office sets the housing rates and those rates are approved by the board. Typically they do go up each year.”

            Increasing housing prices is concerning for WC students, specifically for those whom receive financial aid to help pay for some of their tuition, but not for room and board.

            “I definitely know that a lot of my friends are struggling with that increase [in housing prices,]” freshman Sarah Sypolt said. “They want quality housing [but have] to pay so much for it. A lot of my friends here are…on scholarships…so they try to keep [expenses] low.”

            Many students want to know why housing costs have risen, and Residential Life has provided little insight.

            “I don’t really know what’s going into [the] rising costs,” junior Delaney Runge said. “I feel like there’s not really been…transparency about why these costs are rising.”

            Often, students are left to speculate as to why they need to pay more for their room and board.

            “The new renovations they’re doing might be affecting this,” Runge said. “I know that they just redid Reid and Minta last summer, and this summer, Western Shore is getting a whole makeover.”

            Although Residential Life has been sending out information about renovations in the dorms, they have not given clear explanations regarding the price increases in the different dorms.

            According to a recent email from Residential Life, “Western Shore kitchens are being renovated over the summer. It will now have a full kitchen (with a stove) and all new appliances and flooring. New living room furniture is also being purchased.”

            While this update from Residential Life delivered information on renovations, it did not provide insight into how these renovations may be responsible for increasing the cost in Western Shore, or insight into the price increases in any dorm.

            Residential Life does provide explanations for some pricing decisions, which students appreciate.

            For example, Sine gave some information on the pricing of double buyouts, which cost an additional thousand dollars per semester on top of the original price of a double.

            “This was decided on by the finance office to be the appropriate amount for the additional space,” Sine said. “The double buyouts are a great option for as much space as a [student] gets…compared to the price of a single.”

            Students want to understand why their housing is becoming more expensive. They pay for so much at college: tuition, textbooks, housing, and a meal plan, to name some of the most prominent costs. Although some spaces will be renovated, others will be exactly the same as they were in the past year.

            Students deserve to know why these costs increase. In order to address this issue, Residential Life should explain why the prices are increasing to foster understanding between the college and its students.

Elm Archive Photo.

Photo Caption: Renovation plans for the Western Shore dorms may be to blame for the rise in housing costs.

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