Dorm prices increase due to renovation, maintenance and labor costs

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Photo Credit: Emma Overholt | Daily Texan Staff

Dorm prices increased by hundreds of dollars this year to help cover the costs of renovation projects, maintenance needs and other expenses. 

This year, students have to pay $11,791 for a shared space with a community bath in various dorms. Last year, students paid $11,250. The price for a shared space with a connecting or private bath rose from $11,966 to $12,555. The greatest price increase is for a single room in Duren Residence Hall, which increased by more than $1,000, from $18,617 to $19,659 this year. Dorm prices typically rise by about 3% each year, said Justin Jaskowiak, director for apartments, occupancy and conferences at University Housing and Dining.

“The price increase from year to year covers a number of things,” Jaskowiak said. “Sometimes it’s covering our expanded programs and services. For example, this year we switched to an unlimited meal plan and extended dining hours. It also helps us with continued improvement on projects for efficiency (and) any planned maintenance projects we might have. It also helps us with staffing and labor costs to meet our market salary trends and retain a competitive workforce.”

UHD usually estimates between 7,200 and 7,400 students live in residence halls each year, Jaskowiak said, and around 7,300 students are contracted to live in dorms this year. Jaskowiak said “any improvement and enhancement” helps determine how much these thousands of students have to pay for on-campus housing. 

“For us to maintain being a competitive housing option with great options and amenities here, those things will impact the rate increase,” Jaskowiak said. 

Journalism sophomore Colby Frazier lived in Kinsolving as a freshman and now lives in Duren. She shares a room and bathroom with a roommate, which costs $14,852 this year and cost $14,116 last year.

“Duren was definitely more expensive than Kinsolving, which seemed wrong since Kinsolving had so many amenities (like) the dining hall, Kin’s Market, Kin’s Coffee,” Frazier said in a direct message. “But after staying in Duren for a couple of days, I can confidently say the rooms here are much better quality by far.”

However, Frazier said she believes all students should get quality dorms and perhaps pay the same amount for every hall.

“UT frustrates me because (with) the amount of money we pay to attend this University, every room should be nice,” Frazier said. “In fact, I have yet to understand a reason that there is not one set rate for on-campus housing. There are students who can’t afford to eat because they are trying to afford housing.”

Public relations sophomore Stephanie Gomez, who also stayed in Kinsolving her freshman year, called it “insanely expensive.”

“The fact that living in a dorm equals or exceeds the price of tuition is outrageous,” Gomez said in a direct message. “Just from living in a dorm last year, I am $5,000 deep in student loans that are accumulating interest. The price of living in a dormitory on campus would be worth it if we at least had the privacy of our own room, which isn’t the case for most people.”