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Archive for Thursday, December 20, 2007

Price to live in KU student housing may go up again

University officials to ask to raise rent because of higher costs

December 20, 2007

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In the past five years, apartment rent in Lawrence has increased an average of 9 percent, according to the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority.

At the same time, the cost to rent a standard, unrenovated double room in Kansas University's residence halls has skyrocketed nearly 34 percent - from $2,406 a year in 2002 to $3,224 this year.

And today, KU will ask the Kansas Board of Regents to approve another rent increase for student housing - this time, an additional 6 percent, effective next fall.

"We're still low cost," said KU housing director Diana Robertson. "When it comes to total cost, we're still below the national average."

But students may not notice how KU stacks up against its peers because they see local apartment complexes offering big discounts to get students into their unfilled units. KU remains in the lower third of Big 12 schools for room and board costs, and it is several hundred dollars below the average cost of all Midwest public schools.

However, in KU's report to the regents justifying a rate increase, KU said its occupancy rates this year are below historic levels, with several hundred beds going unused. According to KU's report, there are about 5 percent fewer students living on campus this year than last.

Competition heavy

A cursory survey of apartment complex promotions shows managers and owners are offering a free month's rent, free DVD players and TVs, and even paying for certain utilities. Few complexes are at 100 percent occupancy.

And rents may only go lower - or vacancy rates both on and off campus may go up. Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday approved another 750-unit apartment complex just east of 31st and Iowa streets that would cater to students.

Robertson said an expanded marketing campaign was currently under way in hopes of boosting the number of students living on campus next year.

"We're still cheaper than living in an off-campus apartment," she said. "Especially when you consider what a person's time is worth for the cooking, cleaning and commuting you must do when you live off-campus."

The university is promoting its two-year fixed-rate contracts, and housing officials are traveling more often with admissions counselors to underscore to students the value of living on campus.

Not just rent

There are other costs that contribute to KU's need to increase housing rates.

Barbara Huppee, executive director of the housing authority, said that while rents have stayed fairly steady, utility costs have skyrocketed.

"No landlords pay for utilities anymore," Huppee said. "It's almost always the tenant's responsibility to pay for those bills."

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the price of natural gas has more than doubled in the past five years. And the price of electricity is up about 25 percent, according to the same statistics.

"We have to pay for all of our operations," Robertson said. "When prices go up, we have nowhere to turn other than students and their rates" to make up the higher costs.

Robertson said about a quarter of the department's budget already goes to utilities. Another 45 percent goes to personnel. Robertson said KU needs to keep rates up in order to meet inflationary adjustments to those costs.

Comments

CindiCat 7 years ago

Well, isn't this just a little interesting......Ms. Robertson FAILED to mention the cost of living in a Scholarship Hall is going up as well. Why don't you ask her about that?

Since I do have a child attending KU and living in a Hall, I am curious to hear Ms. Robertson's explaination on that.

She is NOT giving you all the facts......

Jayhawks64 7 years ago

CinciCat,

Scholarship Halls ARE a part of student housing. Exactly what fact is she NOT giving?

booze_buds_03 7 years ago

If you have a question why don't you call and ask her, instead of bitching on her.

FatTony 7 years ago

What part of asking for a 6% increase in student housing don't you understand CindiCat. Maybe you should learn to read before you comment.

Eric Neuteboom 7 years ago

Funny how you all attack CindiCat, but don't know the facts.

I lived in a Scholarship Hall, and the rates are much cheaper than traditional residence halls because the residents perform the cleaning, cooking, etc.

The article specifically mentions an increase at residence halls, which are separate and distinct from Scholarship Halls. So, FatTony, why don't you learn to read (or, better yet, interpret) the article.

Godot 7 years ago

Occupancy is down, so they are raising the rent?

Maybe they should require that first year students live on campus. That might solve a lot of problems for the university, the students and the community.

CindiCat 7 years ago

Oh, and the bashing on ME has begun huh?

Well, what "Coach Eric" said.....read the article again before you open up a can of "whoop A**" on me okay?

"booze" and "tony" do you have a child at KU? Where do they live? Do you help pay for their housing?

For the record, I do intend to lambast on Ms. Robertson. I have just begun to start my grinchin and once I get goin, there is NO stopping me.

My child DOES live in a Scholarship Hall and the cost of living in that Hall is going up. To the point that it would be cheaper to live in one of the Residence Hall's and NOT have to do any "house duties".

From a little over 3k to over 4k.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years ago

For the record, I do intend to lambast on Ms. Robertson. I have just begun to start my grinchin and once I get goin, there is NO stopping me.

My child DOES live in a Scholarship Hall and the cost of living in that Hall is going up. To the point that it would be cheaper to live in one of the Residence Hall's and NOT have to do any "house duties".

What's the big deal? Tell your daughter to move to a residence hall then. Expenses tend to increase from time to time, deal with it. ....and tell your doctor to increase your meds while you're at it.

saxplayer24 7 years ago

This is all after ResNet (KU's Internet, wifi and ether) wanted to significantly raise the internet fee at the Schol Halls and Dorms without an actual timeline for the updates deemed 'absolutely necessary'. Furthermore, would any of this increase go to actually making Oliver or McCollum any cleaner? Those are two of the nastiest dorms out there.

CindiCat 7 years ago

Oh, Haiku....you crack me up. Thanks for the medical advice. You are so nice.

fletch 7 years ago

Godot - "Maybe they should require that first year students live on campus. That might solve a lot of problems for the university, the students and the community."

DSH can house only about 4000 students (not couting the Towers and Stouffer Place which are for upper classmen and non-trads). About 250-300 of those spots are reserved for leadership positions (i.e. resident assitant, peer advisors, etc) for upperclassmen. Annual freshman entry into the university hovers slightly under 4000 (not including transfers). Forcing every entering freshmen into Student Housing would still result in a surplus of students. It would also create a homogeneous environment of all freshmen, which would be a highly negative situation for everybody involved. It's just not a feasible idea. (Plus, telling people where they have to live is a bit socialist.)

To everybody else - rent goes up. Cope. It's still ridiculously cheap for rent/board/food, not to mention the gas savings not having to drive every day. Try going to a school like University of Texas, where housing costs are 2-3 times higher for much less services and where you live much farther from campus. My sister paid more in in-state housing costs at UT than I did in out-of-state tution at KU. KU is a bargain.

Ragingbear 7 years ago

Uh, an increase is NOT 6%. That would be an increase of $401.However, they are asking for a yearly increase of $818 that would make it a 12% increase.

This raises the question. What type of people are running KU that are unable to properly do basic math?

feeble 7 years ago

fletch (Anonymous) says:

"DSH can house only about 4000 students (not couting the Towers and Stouffer Place which are for upper classmen and non-trads)."

Back when I was a deskie, it wasn't uncommon for 2nd year students (and up) to live at the towers. Also, freshmen athletes could also be found living there.

"To everybody else - rent goes up. Cope. It's still ridiculously cheap for rent/board/food, not to mention the gas savings not having to drive every day."

Yeah, the $3,224/year for a single space in a double occupancy room doesn't include meals. A 12 meal/week (7 day period) plan is another $3000 per year. The school year goes from August to December and then January to May, so you are looking at 10 months (less actually since semesters don't start and end at the first and last day of the month) so a student (or their family) is paying $322.40 per month to share a single 12x16 room with someone else. Bath/toilets are communal. For an added $300/month you can eat two meals at E's, Monday thru Friday, and one meal on Saturday and Sunday.

You don't pay utilities, but you also can't directly control the temperature in your room. You share a wing of one floor with ~20 other people.

I'm sorry your family got worked over by UT, but $322/mo for a small, shared room and $300/mo is not a good deal. I

bugmenot 7 years ago

I think you are all missing the basic point. Yes, rent goes up, and I think no one on here would have a problem dealing with that if it weren't for the fact that the rent is going up over 25% from one year to the next. Why are you all so hateful of someone who feels this article left out information she needs to make decisions about her child's living situation? Geez, it's a few days before Christmas, and there sure are a lot of grinches on here.

feeble 7 years ago

minor edit: and $300/mo for meals is not a good deal.

ohjayhawk 7 years ago

fletch/feeble - I lived in the Towers when I was a freshman in the 1989-1990 school year, and I wasn't an athlete. Have they changed things since then?

gphawk89 7 years ago

"To the point that it would be cheaper to live in one of the Residence Hall's and NOT have to do any "house duties"."

Dealing with cost-of-living increases and "house duties" are both just facts of life that maybe students need to learn to deal with before moving out into the real world.

The "house duties" that a student has to perform in a schol hall (for example, cooking dinner for the residents one night per week) are nothing compared to the "house duties" that person have after they graduate and are taking care of themselves.

And schol halls are cheap compared to the "real world". My real estate tax bill for this year alone just cost me more than 2 whole years of schol hall living (at least back when I lived there).

I spent 4 years in a schol hall, loved the experience, and would recommend them to anyone.

FatTony 7 years ago

Coach Eric, I did read and interpret correctly. The specific example given by the reporter was in regards to residence halls whereas what was being proposed by the University to the Regents was to cover all student housing.

"And today, KU will ask the Kansas Board of Regents to approve another rent increase for student housing - this time, an additional 6 percent, effective next fall."

So I turn to you Coach and ask did you really read? Also your argument that Scholarship Halls are significantly cheaper how does that help cindicat?

Coach Eric "I lived in a Scholarship Hall, and the rates are much cheaper than traditional residence halls because the residents perform the cleaning, cooking, etc."

So if you did all that and it was less than the traditional residence hall like you say a 6% increase would actually be less than what was given in the example. Obviously time spent in the Scholarship Hall looks like it went wasted on you.

justthefacts 7 years ago

Option #1 - have students pay for increased costs in maintaining residences and feeding them. It is a fact of life that costs are increasing (and less use of the facilities makes that even more likely).

Option #2 - have tax payers pick up the tab - some more.... .

Option #3 - cease providing housing or food to students.

FYI - the STUDENTS were surveyed about the costs and indicated they wanted more services, not less, and would be willing to pay more (and I know they aren't often/always the ones doing the paying). So anyone who wants to beef about increase can pick option #3 or speak with the students who supported the increase.

gwjayhawk 7 years ago

If you want to complain about the increase in costs in the halls, why don't you move into an off-campus apartment? I pay less than $300/month for mine, and it's pretty nice.

I lived in the dorms my first year, knowing they weren't the nicest or cheapest places in town. But they provide a great way to meet people and get acquainted with Lawrence.

College is expensive...deal with it, one way or the other.

KansansRHorribleDrivers 7 years ago

With a 6% increase it is still really cheap compared to most major schools and freshman should be required to stay at the dorms if there is enough room. This would also save them the hassle to deal with the real EVIL in the city, First Management, not KU.

toefungus 7 years ago

Funny, rent is going up less than my property taxes.

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