Consolidated housing prices to be expected this fall
Beginning fall 2018, housing prices for on-campus residents will be consolidated from an 11 price options to only six – five for undergraduates. This means, among other changes, it will now cost students the same amount to live in a quad, a tower double or a suite without a lounge.
The new policy is being implemented by the Office of Residence Life and will effect housing registration for current students taking place next month.
Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Sofia Pertuz said, “The Division of Student Affairs and its Office of Residence Life want to provide our students with the best possible options for on-campus living. We hope that by … streamlining and simplifying our room price options, it will be easier for students to plan ahead and select residential options that best suit their interests, identities, needs and budgets.”
Tim Daigle, a senior computer science major understands this reasoning. He said, “I think just in a sense that the price hikes are unfortunately par for the course; higher education in general involves prices rising.” Daigle currently lives in a single. “I do like the fact that they are trying to consolidate it so that it’s easier to know how much you are going to be paying. I think anything else is going to be growing pains because I’m sure they are going to change it again in a couple of years.”
Not everyone agrees. Ashley Vernola, a junior television major and commuter, states, “I moved off campus because tuition is already high for me as it is, but for a long time I wrote off off-campus living because I thought it’d be more expensive, but when I actually sat down and did the math, I’m saving like, thousands of dollars, which is outrageous. I feel like them limiting options is incredibly inaccessible and discouraging for people who need to live in those cheaper options for financial reasons. Even with the second best scholarship, the tuition alone is definitely difficult to manage for some people so adding costs on top of that for the same sub-par is crazy.”
Of the five new undergraduate rates, the category most taking students by surprise seems to be the consolidation of quads, tower doubles and suites without lounges into one price. Senior Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Beth McGuire said, “A student living in a double in the high rises will pay the same price as a student who lives in a suite without a lounge because technically, they are both double spaces.”
Matt Dominello, a freshman finance major who lives in a tower double, does not agree with this line of thinking. He believes that there is “more space to live in a suite with a bathroom. Even without a lounge, a suite has more space. If it’s a price increase [for doubles], which it most likely is, then that’s not fair.”
Leighanne Masri, a freshman biology major and tower double resident, thinks that it should be “more expensive to live in a room with more room and less expensive to live in a room with less room.”
Natalie Idone, a freshman business marketing major, like Masri, has lived in a suite without a lounge and is currently living in a tower double. She adds, “I feel like it makes more sense for a suite to be more money. … It’s completely different from living in a tower double, so I wouldn’t want to pay the same price for a bathroom as no bathroom.”
According to McGuire, housing rates go up 3 to 5 percent each year. However, Colin Sullivan, the director of communications for Student Affairs, admits that the pricing on quad rooms will go up more than 10 percent this year.
Sullivan said, “This is because quads have been underpriced and undervalued for many years.” He also pointed out that there are only a limited number of quad rooms available on campus, meaning that only a limited number of people will be affected.
Grace Ackman a sophomore biomedical engineering major who lives in a quad in Vander Poel said, “... we have the right to know that information if it does affect us.”
Mark Pettit, a sophomore computer science major also lives in a quad. “I had no idea this was happening, and this is definitely going to impact me, so it’s ... a bit of a surprise,” he said. “I’ll make do, but I imagine that there are other people that it will impact even more than me.”
The prices are not currently available to students, since they have yet to be approved by Hofstra’s Board of Trustees. This decision will be made sometime this month.
Ackman said, “That’s still not enough time, in my opinion. You should at least give three months’ notice.”
According to the Office of Residence Life, this change was made to “make it easier for students to understand the cost associated with residing on campus.”
McGuire also explained the universities decision. “Through feedback we have received and assessment of peer and aspirant institutions, we realized that 11 pricing options was too many and we needed to streamline our approach to pricing so that our students could plan more efficiently for their financing and residential experience … We wanted to create a clearer process regarding cost, regardless of whether you lived in the high-rise areas or the suite areas.”
Several students, however, do not think that enough active surveying of the Hofstra community was conducted prior to making this decision.
Fehreen Ali, a freshman accounting major and tower double resident, said, “I think they should have at least put out a survey like how they put out a survey for the food and everything so we get to give our feedback with the dorms. We should be able to decide how we want to pay for our housing.”
Ackman said, “I don’t know why [Hofstra] would say that. From what I’ve heard from students living on campus, I’ve never, not once, heard anybody say ‘you know, there’s just too many options.’”
The Chronicle reached out to the Departments of University Relations and Financial Services, as well as to the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for comment. All were either not aware of the exact changes at the time or not at liberty to speak regarding the new policy.
Masri is fully against the changes, stating, “Tuition is tuition, but the room selection can be picked, and people choose where they live for a certain reason, [often] based on the price.”