When the Kansas Board of Regents meet this week, its members will consider a request that will affect Kansas University students living in on-campus housing.
KU is asking the regents to approve increases to housing and dining fees - about 5 percent for an average student's bill - that would take effect on July 1.
Diana Robertson, KU director of student housing, said the increases would go toward general upkeep and to new facilities. Under the plan, a typical double occupancy room and board contract would increase by $328 to $6,802.
"The key is to anticipate these needs and to make sure we can fully fund our operations in the year ahead," Robertson said.
The increases would mostly affect new students, and some of the estimated 1,700 students who will choose to return to the university housing system, Robertson said.
One of the students choosing to return is Iola junior Scott Toland, who lives in Battenfeld Scholarship Hall. For him, the location on campus and the cost difference between a scholarship hall and a traditional residence hall still make the living situation attractive.
"I think you get a really good value," said Toland, who said the potential cost increases wouldn't keep him from coming back.
One of his three roommates in Battenfeld, however, won't be returning.
Jake Toben, a Wichita sophomore, said he was ready for more independence and to live off campus. He said he believes the food and room costs were too much already - before any proposed increases.
In some scholarship halls, Battenfeld included, residents pay a fee to have food shipped to the hall that is prepared by the hall's residents. That fee is proposed to increase by $76, to $1,770, in the next school year. The fee for the room is proposed to increase by 8 percent to $3,100.
"I feel like the value really isn't that great here," Toben said. "You really do pay so much for not very much room."
Robertson said that not all students who will return will face increases, as 344 students in the system have signed two-year contracts with locked fees.
The fee increases are part of an annual presentation to the Regents, Robertson said, during which the department tries to anticipate its fees for upcoming years to be able to offer contracts to incoming students in time.
"We try and crystal-ball what those operational increases might be," she said.
If the Regents choose to reduce the proposed fee increase, it would likely be the scheduled renovations to on-campus buildings that would suffer, she said.
"We certainly don't want to go in that direction," she said.
The fee increases, expected to generate $1.58 million in new revenue, would help support upcoming scheduled renovations, including a $5.2 million renovation of infrastructure and finishes on a second Jayhawker Tower apartment facility during the next academic year, and a $13.1 million complete renovation of Gertrude Sellards Pearson Hall during the 2010-2011 academic year.
That proposal would turn the 428-bed all-female facility into a 391-bed coed facility with single and double rooms.
Robertson said the first phase of a three-phase renovation of McCollum Hall is planned after the GSP renovations are completed.
Robertson said the proposal was approved by the university's Student Housing Advisory Board, which consists of students, faculty and staff, with representation from residence halls, scholarship halls, Jayhawker Towers and married student housing.
The regents will consider increases from all six of its state universities this week, with final action planned in December. KU's proposed 5.1 percent increase for a typical two-person contract ranks second among the six institutions.
Pittsburg State University proposed the highest percentage increase at 6.5 percent, while Wichita State University's proposal was the lowest at 3.4 percent.