It’s that time: application fees evoke serious interest

James Vaughn

It’s that time of the year again – students who plan to live on campus during the 2013-2014 school year are registering with university housing.

In order to live on campus, students must first pay a $50 nonrefundable application fee. Then, in order to hold their spot, they must pay a $200 contract fee. After that, students can go online and select their room space.

The contract is an online document that binds the student to the university for the following academic year. Once it is signed, there is no backing out without expensive consequences.

The $200 contract fee is applied to the students fall bill, according to assistant director of business operations for Housing and Residence Life Cathy Goldsborough.

The $50 application fee, on the other hand, is not.

A typical application for an apartment means that there’s a possibility you won’t get approved to live there.

“No – well, I’m not going to answer that,” Goldsborough said when asked if there are any students who don’t get approved to live on-campus. “In general, anyone who is eligible for housing would go through the same process.”

A student is eligible if they have been admitted by the university, she said.

“We are managing a popular and scarce resource,” Goldsborough said. “We want to make sure that, since students aren’t required to live on-campus, the application and the fee allows us to get an idea of who has a serious interest in on-campus housing.”

Everything on the application, including meal plan selection and roommate selection, are only active if the student signs the contract.

The application and contract process has been in effect for three years.

“It’s been successful in helping us manage serious interest in our housing,” Goldsborough said.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Mark Rozewski said the application fees are used toward the Housing Operations Budget.

Housing operations includes helping the Resident Assistants (RA’s) and putting on various events in housing, he said.

“If we didn’t have an application fee, we’d get a bunch of useless applications that don’t tell us who’s really coming,” Rozewski said.

He compared it to the application fee in the Admission Department.

“If applying to college were free, students would apply to a lot more colleges,” he said.

Sophomore computer information systems major Lindsey Howes said she loves living on campus, but she doesn’t like all the fees.

“I’m pretty sure people are serious if they’re paying the $200 fee,” Howes said.

She doesn’t know of anyone who has paid the fee and decided not to live on-campus, she said.

“Most people are serious about it from the start, I believe,” Howes said. “As broke college students, taking away that $50 app fee would help a lot of people out.”