Under the approved plan, the average combined room and board rate increase will be 1.65 percent for 2014-2015, according to Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success.
“The low rate increase of less than two percent reflects the University’s commitment to maintaining an affordable cost of education for our students,” said Below.
Residence Hall Room Rates
The Regents set residence hall fees for rooms at the new River Campus residence hall opening in fall 2014, and changed rates for rooms in Merick and New Hall on the north campus, and spaces in Dearmont Hall. All other residence hall room rates will remain at the current rates, according to Below.
The increase in average room rates will be .5 percent, reflecting costs to continue for staff, student labor, maintenance and repair.
Annual rates at the new River Campus residence hall for 2014-2015 will be $6,250, which is $250 more than current room rates for most other suite style rooms on campus, Below said. The new River Campus residence hall will offer larger rooms, private rooms and more common area space than any other residence hall suites at Southeast. Onsite dining, a fitness room and music practice rooms also will be available.
Rates for rooms in Merick Hall, which is adjacent to Houck Stadium, and New Hall on the north campus will increase by $250 for the academic year to $6,250. These residence halls are in high demand with students and have the largest common area and study spaces within the residence hall system. Both buildings have similar room designs, offering the largest student rooms and the most privacy, Below said.
Dearmont Hall along Normal Avenue in the center of campus will be converted from double occupancy rooms to single occupancy rooms beginning in fall 2014, she said. The average room size in Dearmont is 162 square feet. Dearmont currently offers the smallest double occupancy rooms at Southeast that are 25 percent smaller than rooms in the University’s newer residence halls, Below said. With the conversion to single occupancy, the new room rate for Dearmont Hall beginning in fall 2014 will be $5,250. This room rate for a single occupancy room is $1,350 higher than the current double occupancy rate of $3,900, she said.
Rates for Southeast’s other residence halls in 2014-2015 will remain at 2013-2014 rates of $4,250 for Towers South and East and Cheney; $5,000 for Group Housing; and $6,000 for Myers, Towers North and West, Vandiver and Henderson.
Below says average board rates will rise 4 percent in 2014-2015 and reflect several new dining options that have come online in the past two years at Southeast. Starbucks opened in the University Center in fall 2012, and Subway and We Proudly Brew opened in Scully Building last year.
Located on the third floor of the University Center near Redhawks Market, Starbucks is a one-stop-shop for coffee, sandwiches, drinks and snacks. The addition of Starbucks was part of a larger renovation project in the University Center that included rotating the serving area in Smashers Grill and adding a 120-150 seat dining expansion to the south dining room.
On the north campus, Subway and We Proudly Brew were added in Scully Building in a space that formerly housed the Center for Child Studies.
Chartwells is excited to provide a viable option in an area where their presence has been limited,” said Dr. Bruce Skinner, assistant vice president for Student Success and director of Residence Life.
Students can use their meal plan and “flex dollars” in both new establishments, Skinner said. Flex dollars are cash stored electronically on students’ ID cards as part of their meal plan. They can be used at most campus dining locations to buy additional meals, food items, snacks and beverages. Value exchange, which is part of the meal plan, is also available for use at these venues.
Along with the University Center and Scully additions, improvements were made last summer on the north campus to the Towers Complex dining area to expand seating capacity and enhance food service options there.
Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration, said growth on the north campus placed pressure on Chartwells, Southeast’s dining services provider, to address the existing volume and the addition of a new 262-bed residence hall north of the Otto and Seabaugh Polytechnic Building that opened last fall.
In addition to these new dining options, Chartwells’ newest facility at the River Campus, with a great view of the Mississippi River and Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, is expected to open in the fall. Located in the new residence hall at the River Campus, this new dining venue will bring an exciting addition to the River Campus. Monday through Friday, students will find a welcome breakfast served continental style, offering “all-you-care-to-eat” fresh fruit, yogurt and freshly made waffles, pastries and cereal. At lunch, the area will transform into a retail operation offering a la carte items, including made-to-order deli sandwiches, salads, fresh grill, daily culinary features, and Outtakes grab-and-go options. The evening meal period will return to an “all-you-care-to-eat” facility with a variety of options including a fresh salad bar, action cooking station, deli bar, grill and made in-house desserts.
During the weekends, a community meal will be available for all students living in the River Campus residence hall. The focus of this meal is to provide students a chance to share a meal in a more home style manner, while still benefiting from the menu diversity that Chartwells brings to the Southeast campus.
In keeping with the University’s and Chartwells’ commitment to flexibility in its dining program, students and guests will be able to use their meal plans, value exchange, flex dollars, Redbucks, cash or credit like Chartwells’ other dining venues.
Today’s board rate increase is consistent with the University’s dining contract with Chartwells, and reflects actual and anticipated inflation in food prices for next year as well as an increase in value exchange rates for use by student when using their meal plans in Southeast’s retail dining facilities, Below said.
Under the standard board rate schedule, the most popular plan – 15 meals per week plus $140 in flex dollars – will cost students $2,675 annually. The 19-meal plan with $116 in flex dollars is $2,890 annually. The 10-meal plan plus $160 in flex dollars is $2,390. The five-meal plan plus $270 in flex dollars is $2,050.
The flex dollars reflected in the board rates are cash stored electronically on students’ ID cards as part of their meal plan. They can be used at most campus dining locations to buy additional meals, food items, snacks and beverages.
With the approved room and board rates for 2014-2015, a student living in Towers South/East with a 15 meal plan will pay $6,925, up from $6,820 this year, Below said.
Residence Life Budget
The Regents today also approved a $24.7 million Residence Life budget for fiscal 2015, up from $24.01 million this year. Below says the difference reflects changes in debt service expense and room revenue for the new residence hall at the River Campus coming online in fall 2014.