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BU Housing ups dining, residential rates

Because of an increase in residence and dining plan rates for the 2014-15 academic year, which were released Monday, Boston University is giving students the opportunity until Friday to cancel their Residence License Agreement without losing their $600 housing deposit. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS

Because of an increase in residence and dining plan rates for the 2014-15 academic year, which were released Monday, Boston University is giving students the opportunity until Friday to cancel their Residence License Agreement without losing their $600 housing deposit. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS

Boston University Housing announced an increase in its residential and dining rates for the 2014-15 school year in an email to residents Monday.

On average, the cost of on-campus residences will increase by $561, and the cost of dining plans will increase by $140, according to BU’s housing website.

BU spokesman Colin Riley attributed the cost increases to the university’s maintenance needs, including additional labor, food and transportation costs.

“The increase is not related to providing new things, it’s just simply the cost of providing the service,” he said. “Higher education is a very labor-intensive business.”

A budget committee annually evaluates and anticipates what the demand for housing will be for the upcoming school year before finalizing BU’s residential rates, Riley said. The budget committee takes major renovations for residences and dining services into account when deciding future rates, including additions such as Marciano Commons at 100 Bay State Road.

The housing deposit deadline was extended twice this year, from Feb. 28 to March 3, and then to March 7. The original deadline was set prior to the release of the upcoming rates. Students were given a week to ask for a refund on their housing deposits if they decided not to utilize on-campus housing once rates were finalized.

This grace period is standard procedure, Riley said. Since the rates have been released, BU housing has seen a 2 percent withdrawal rate, which Riley said was typical.

The demand for on-campus housing is still very strong, he said.

“Housing has been very stable at 75 percent [of students] living on campus since the first [Student Village] opened,” Riley said.

Several BU students said residential and dining rates were a factor in their decision to live in on-campus housing or to find a residence outside of BU.

“I’m currently undecided about living on or off campus and the rates are definitely something I’m taking into consideration,” said Marissa Brown, a College of General Studies sophomore. “I’ve submitted my deposit, but I still need to decide whether or not to refund it.”

Annalisa Ritchie, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said though she appreciated the addition of the facilities at 100 Bay State Road, she would rather see her money go toward fixing issues at the university concerning elevators and heating.

“They threw too much money at [Bay State] for what it is,” Ritchie said. “As far as functionality goes, they didn’t need to do everything that they did.”
Gregory Marzec, a College of Communication freshman, said he would be living off campus next year.

“StuVi is really attractive, being downtown in a high rise penthouse-like building, but it’s wicked expensive,” he said. “To pay $15-grand to live there, that’s just being stupid when I can live off-campus for $700 a month.”

Edward Murphy, a senior in COM, has lived in Student Village II for two years. He said though he has enjoyed living at StuVi II, he felt the cost of the residence, at about $15,000 annually, is steep.

“We’ve always had complaints, like with the heat,” he said. “There are a lot of things we’ve asked maintenance about, but we don’t see our money going there.”

Riley said the increase in residence and dining rates are largely inevitable.

“Yes, costs do go up, but we work hard to keep those increases at a minimum,” he said. “It’s just a reality.”

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