UNIVERSITY PARK – To cover increases in operating and maintenance costs, the Board of Trustees on Friday (Nov. 6) approved a modest increase in room and board rates for the 2010-11 academic year.
The average room and board rate — including a standard double-occupancy room and the most common meal plan — will be $4,185 per semester, an increase of $100, or 2.45 percent, over last year. This is the smallest increase in the room and board rates in a decade.
Food costs are expected to increase by 2 percent for 2010-11. Expenses for maintenance are expected to rise by 2.5 percent, with supplies and services increasing by 2.8 percent and 3.3 percent respectively.
Housing and Food Services will realize significant savings this coming year with the removal of most of the landline telephones from residence halls. Student surveys indicated minimal usage of traditional phones given the widespread use of cell phones, so the University decided to remove the landlines from residence hall rooms. A courtesy phone remains on each floor. This move is estimated to save the University $700,000 per year, which is helping to offset other rising costs.
As noted in previous rate requests, the need to address deferred maintenance on aging buildings remains a high priority. Projects such as the upgrade of electrical wiring, bathroom renovations and the replacement of elevators and windows are essential for safe, comfortable, efficient and attractive housing and dining facilities. All of these are multi-year initiatives requiring significant financial commitment.
Projects planned for fall 2010 are the renovation of Dobbins, the dining commons at Penn State Erie; and the construction of 100 new spaces for freshman housing at Penn State Harrisburg. At University Park, Pollock dining commons will undergo a major renovation beginning in spring semester of 2011.
Housing and Food Services at Penn State is an auxiliary enterprise, operating independently of tuition and state subsidies received by the University.
“State funds are not used for construction, maintenance of facilities or for the operations of the housing and dining program,” said Gail A. Hurley, associate vice president of Auxiliary and Business Services. “Money paid by students and guests for food and lodging are the only funds available to pay all operating expenses, building loans and interest payments, as well as major maintenance and renewal.”
Penn State operates 75 residence halls and five apartment complexes accommodating more than 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Residence halls are located at University Park, Altoona, Beaver, Berks, Erie, Greater Allegheny, Harrisburg, Hershey, Hazleton and Mont Alto.
Room charges for an undergraduate student living on campus in a standard double room — the most typical living arrangement at the University — will increase by $55 per semester, from $2,215 to $2,270. The cost for meal plan three — the most common plan of 12 to 13 meals per week — will increase by $45 per semester, from $1,870 to $1,915. These increases bring the room and board cost to $4,185 per semester for this traditional combination.
Other housing rate changes specific to various campus living units can be found online.