BY ANGELA CUNEO
Next year, an underclassman living in a dorm with the least expensive meal plan, will pay at least $8,000. That is over $500 more than this year.
Similarly, a junior living in Eagle Landing with the least expensive meal plan will pay just over $7,700 next year.
During the February Board of Visitors meeting, the University of Mary Washington proposed an increase in the rates for housing and meal plans for the 2010-2011 school year. This increase consisted of a nine percent change from the 2009-2010 school year in housing.
“As with most things, it is not unusual for the room price to increase. The cost of operating the halls have gone up – electricity, water, staffing – and it makes sense that the cost would keep pace with those increases,” Director of Residence Life Chris Porter said.
UMW has also proposed three new meal plans, the 275 Block Plan, the 225 Block Plan, and the 150 Block Plan. The Super Meal Plan and the 5 Block Meal Plan have also gained more flex per semester. As a result, the University will remove the current Unlimited 9 Meal Plan, the 15 Meal plan and the 9 Meal plan. The proposed new meal plans are more expensive than the previous ranging from $4,712 to $1,164 as opposed to $4,358 to $1,108.
However, despite the changes taking place, some students on campus don’t seem to mind. Porter said she does not believe that the price increases will affect the number of students living on-campus.
“We have more contracts this year than ever before, so, I do not believe it has had a detrimental impact on student desire to live on-campus,” Porter said.
In an attempt to compensate for increase in prices, UMW has also offered a special discount in the new apartment complex, Eagle Landing.
“Based on the feedback we have received from students, the decision has been made to operate the complex at a loss and do a one-time rate reduction. We recognize that the economy has made it difficult for everyone and want to make sure that those who wish to live in Eagle Landing have the opportunity to do so,” according to the UMW Web site.
The current Eagle Landing Rates are $2,975 per semester ($5,950 total) for an Eagle Landing Double for the academic year and $3,472 per semester ($6,950) for an Eagle Landing Double for 12 months. These prices do not include meal plans.
The previous Eagle Landing rates were set as a 9-month Double being $6,900 and a 12-month Double as $8,000.
Despite plans to raise housing prices, some students are content with living on-campus.
Tom Kearney, a junior at UMW was happy about this price reduction.
“I wanted to live in Eagle Village with my friends, but it was too expensive, so I was going to have to stay in the Apartments,” Kearney said. However, with the reduction, Tom was able to afford to live in the new complex.
Even with the price reductions, Eagle Landing is more expensive than the UMW Apartments or traditional housing because students must subscribe to a meal plan if living on-campus, thus the cost of a meal plan weighs in.
The 90 Block Plan is available to students living in the UMW Apartments, as well as Eagle Landing. This meal plan is the cheapest available for on-campus students at $1,780 for the 2010-2011 school year. The cheapest meal plan for traditional housing (non-Eagle Landing and UMW Apartments) is the 150 Block Plan for $3,196.
Because of this factor, traditional housing ends up costing more than a UMW Apartment or Eagle Landing.
Freshmen living on-campus must apply for the Super Meal Plan, the 275 Meal Plan or the 225 Meal Plan, which cost more than the others. This makes the cost of living more expensive for the incoming freshman class.
According to Kearny, living on-campus freshman year is simply a right of passage. When speaking about prices Kearny said, “I don’t think that’s the point of housing. Freshman need the traditional housing experience, the responsibilities will prepare them to move on to the apartments or Eagle Village.”