Trustees approve housing, meal plan increases for third straight year

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to increase student housing and meal plan costs for the next school year during their meeting Thursday morning.

Meal plans will be increasing by $22 for is for the Red, White and Blue Eagle meal plans. This will bring the plan up to $2,235. 

Two students, two bedroom apartments and dorms will go up $48. This will bring the price up to $2,472. One student per bedroom apartments and dorms will remain the same for the 2020-2021 school year.

Students who live in housing will also have $50 in Munch Money added to their accounts for the approved rates.

“These are rates that we set early so that we can help our students be aware of what the costs will be so they can determine where they want to go for school,” Vice President for Finance and Administration Steve Bridges said.

This will be the third year in a row that the Board has agreed to raise housing and meal plan costs. This year they raised meal plans by 1% and housing by 2%. The Board raised both by 3% last year. 

Bridges said they try to be sensitive to student needs. He said the increases over the course of the university’s history have been made to accommodate increasing living costs.

“So we assess it each year, and we access it based on the budget needs and occupancy expectations will be and what costs we need to do,” he said.

The meal plan increase will go towards labor and food services costs, according to the meeting’s agenda. The university focuses on expected inflation increase for food costs, more so than adding new items. Choices and options for students are constantly being evaluated, Bridges said.

The housing increase can go towards potential utility increases and the costs to replace carpeting and flooring in the housing facilities each summer. The university also paints and refurbishes the facilities each year. 

The Ruston Hall floor covering replacement cost the university $180,000 this summer. Student apartment flooring replacements cost another $105,000. Both of these came out of Housing Reserves budget. 

Bridges said the point of the increases are to benefit the students each year. 

“They’re small increases intentionally and it’s to try to help our students as best as we can,” he said. “Small in terms of history even.”