Board of Control approves room and board rate increases

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The SVSU Board of Control last month approved the room and board rates for both the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years.

Most of the approved changes in room and board rates will affect incoming freshmen who choose to live on campus, while rates for returning students in the 2018-2019 academic year will generally remain the same.

For the 2018-2019 academic year, incoming freshmen who choose to reside in a Living Center unit with shared bedrooms will pay $9,786, which includes their meal plan. That is a $408 increase from the current rates. Freshmen who choose to live in the First Year Suites will pay $10,186 next year, a $312 increase from the current rates.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, incoming freshmen who choose to reside in a Living Center unit with shared bedrooms will pay $10,030, which includes their meal plan. That is a $244 increase from next year’s rates. Freshmen living in the First Year Suites will pay $10,440, a $254 increase from next year’s rates.

“We recognize this is a significant financial commitment for students and try to keep any increases to a moderate level,” said Ron Portwine, the associate vice president for Administration & Business Affairs.

According to SVSU spokesman J.J. Boehm, in Fall 2018, most returning students will see their housing rates unchanged. Their out-of-pocket costs will also go down slightly as laundry services will be included in room and board rates.

Portwine said that by including laundry services, “We will be able to avoid the cost of upgrading the card readers, our Campus Facilities and I.T. staff will be able to focus on other priorities and residents will benefit by no longer having to ensure they have money in their Flex account prior to doing their laundry.”

According to Boehm, $150 of the 2018-2019 room and board rate increases will cover the ongoing improvements to SVSU’s wireless network. As previously negotiated between SVSU administrators and Student Association, this upcoming fall will be the third year of a three-year phase-in of charges to cover the Wi-Fi improvements.

The increases will also accommodate for changes to housing policies. Starting in Fall 2018, all First Year Suites will become single-bedroom units.

SVSU has been recognized as the No. 1 university in Michigan for best dorms and No. 19 nationally out of 1,398 colleges in 2017 by the ranking and review site Niche.com. Seventy percent of a university’s score is attributed to student satisfaction surveys.

“One of the reasons why we’re particularly proud of that ranking is because that’s our students attesting to the fact that they’re having a great experience,” Boehm said.

According to Boehm, only two universities in Michigan have room and board rates below SVSU. SVSU’s room and board rates are also below the average for the state.

“We are committed to maintaining the high level of service and the high level of quality facilities that students currently enjoy,” Boehm said. “Even with these rate increases, SVSU still is going to be one of the least expensive among the public universities in terms of room and board rates.”

Administrators work with the board to put together a financial model each year.

“They try to be very mindful of students and families and what this will mean for them,” Boehm said. “You’re always trying to balance and weigh what we need in terms of revenue versus what we think our students and families can realistically afford.”

The Board of Control is currently made up of seven members appointed by the governor’s office. Six of the seven members live in the Saginaw, Bay City and Midland regions.

“We are very fortunate that we continue to have people that know the region and understand the region serving on our governing board,” Boehm said.

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