Housing costs increase

Lindsey Reed

An updated housing policy may prevent some sophomores from apartment shopping next year.

Housing and Residence Life is requiring full-time freshmen and sophomores – students with less than 60 hours – to live on campus next year.

Those who choose to live off-campus will have to pay a $1,000 fee, unless they get an exemption.

The cost of living on campus has also increased.

Kit Tolbert, director of housing operations, said the sophomore requirement was popular during the 1980s and was implemented again in fall 1996.

HRL Director Brian Kuster said the policy was suspended as of the 2002-2003 school year because some dorms were closed for renovations, which created a housing crunch for freshmen.

Freshmen were still required to live on campus during that time.

“We can suspend the policy from time to time as the demand changes,” he said. “Most students knew we suspended it for last year.”

Students who are married, 21 years old or have dependent children are exempt.

Military veterans of 181 days and students commuting within 50 miles or less from their parent’s permanent home are also exempt.

Tolbert said students with special circumstances may also get exemptions. Students lacking a few hours from being classified as a junior next year would be exempt from the policy.

Munfordville freshman Nayo Otey said the new policy change wouldn’t affect her.

“I was going to live on campus anyway because of my scholarship,” she said.

But Otey said the new policy and non-compliance fee is not a good idea because students are already paying a lot to the university.

All students don’t want to live in a dorm, she said.

“Some people can’t handle living in the dorm anyway,” she said.

Radcliff freshman Jamilia McKinney said she planned to get an apartment before she learned of the new policy.

“I can’t afford to be charged $1,000 to live off campus,” she said.

The housing rates have not yet been approved by the Student Life Foundation, but they are expected to increase by $120 to $150 for double occupancy rooms next year.

The rates could increase more, but any increase would not be substantial, Kuster said.

SLF is expected to approve its budget, which includes the dorm rates and a possible Internet fee, by April, he said.

The SLF Board of Directors will meet on March 18.

Housing rates increased to make the price structure more compatible with the completed upgrades and renovations in dorms, Kuster said.

The proposed rates would fund future dorm projects, such as a new roof for Pearce-Ford Tower and new carpeting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for Zacharias and Meredith halls, he said.

Tolbert said HRL typically increases the dorm fee by five percent each year.

Next year’s price increases are partly because of higher utility costs, Tolbert said.

HRL had previously said that private rooms would only be available at PFT next year, but the directional halls and others will have a few private rooms available, Kuster said.

Students can apply for a private room at PFT, and HRL should be able to honor at least the first 100 requests, he said.

Reach Lindsey Reed at [email protected]