Room-and-board rates at Wichita State may rise next year

11/07/2013 7:20 AM

11/07/2013 7:20 AM

Some room-and-board costs at Wichita State University could rise next year, a few by as much as 28.6 percent, when a new dorm opens and two existing dorms stop serving as student residence halls.

The university submitted a room-and-board rate proposal this week to a Kansas Board of Regents committee showing room rates at the new dorm under construction between Cessna Stadium and Morrison Hall ranging from $9,800 to $12,171 per person, depending on which of several plans students select. Plans are based on the numbers of beds, baths, meals and dollars in campus accounts.

Some room rates at the existing Fairmount Towers could increase 20 to 28.6 percent, depending on the plan. Those increases represent a one-time cost adjustment to absorb bond indebtedness from the discontinuation of Wheatshocker Apartments and Brennan Hall as student residences, said Wade Robinson, vice president of campus life and university relations.

All of the state’s four-year institutions submitted housing and food service rate proposals to the Regents’ Fiscal Affairs and Audit Standing Committee on Tuesday. The committee will discuss the proposals on Nov. 20, and the board will receive them on the same day. No action will be taken on them until the board meets in December.

Rates at the new WSU dorm, which is scheduled to open in August 2014 with 782 beds, would be similar to those at new facilities at the University of Oklahoma and University of Nebraska, Robinson said. The costs are based on new furnishings, new amenities and the convenience of the dorm’s campus location, he said.

Increases at Fairmount Towers, the university’s largest residence hall with up to 600 students, would affect three of its 10 plans. The top increase would affect students on the single-occupancy, 19-meal, $300 Shocker Dollar plan. They would see their rate rise 28.6 percent, from $7,590 a year to $9,767.23. Double-occupancy students under the same plan would have their rate rise 23.28 percent, from $6,792 to $8,373.

Rates for students with $200 Shocker Dollar plans wouldn’t change.

Housing fees and residential rates for the summer session also wouldn’t increase.

The average room and board charge for four-year institutions in the Midwest is $8,737, according to the Regents.

The Wheatshocker Apartments and Brennan Hall won’t be generating revenue next year, Robinson said. Wheatshocker Apartments, which opened in 1965, will be taken down, and Brennan Hall, a three-unit complex built after World War II, will be put to some other use.

“So Fairmount now has to have a one-time increase this year to take on former housing debt,” he said.

The new residence hall has a separate bonding issue.

Fairmount rates will increase by the normal 3 percent after next year, Robinson said.

“We’ve always been very comparable in our room and board increases, and will be in the future,” he said. “This year is an anomaly due to new housing being built and old housing coming down.”

Rates would increase at all four-year universities in Kansas, according to proposals submitted to the Regents by those schools. A typical double-occupancy room and board contract at the University of Kansas would cost $7,896 for 2014-2015, up $194, or 2.5 percent, from the current rate. Kansas State University students would see a 4.5 percent rise under the same contract, from $7,710 to $8,060.

Rates under the same contract would rise 3.6 percent at Emporia State University, 3 percent at Pittsburg State University, and 2.1 percent at Fort Hays State University.

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