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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2006




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Rising energy costs reflected in '06-07 housing rates

The Board of Regents at its April 21 meeting approved the rates for residence hall room and board and for apartment rentals for the 2006-07 academic year.

The Division of Student Affairs annually submits a proposed rate schedule for board consideration.

Students who live in residence halls will pay an average of 5.9 percent more next academic year for room and board, with much of the increase attributable to the rising cost of energy. The basic rate per student for a double room with a standard 13 meals per week board plan will be $7,808, an increase of $434 from 2005-06.

Northwood Community Apartments monthly rental rates for graduate students and students with families will increase by an average of 3.5 percent; the cost of a unit will range from $709 for an economy one-bedroom to $1,136 for an air-conditioned three-bedroom town house.

The rate-setting reflects months of financial planning by housing and business staff. In addition to general cost-of-living increases, fees for on-campus housing this year are affected significantly by utility costs that have risen much higher than originally projected for fiscal year 2006 with no relief in sight for the upcoming academic year.

Utilities make up a higher percentage of total costs in the apartments as compared to residence halls. For the upcoming year, 3.3 percent of the proposed apartment rent increase is for utility hikes; the comparable rate for residence halls is 1.7 percent. The remainder of the residence hall increase is an annual 2 percent allocation for Residential Life Initiatives projects.

"The reality of sharply higher-than-anticipated utility costs has made setting our rates this year especially challenging," said Carole Henry, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of University Housing. "We continue to work hard at implementing energy conservation measures wherever feasible as well as educating residents about steps they can take to moderate energy consumption, especially since our aging residence halls and apartments do not have the energy efficiencies of newer facilities."

Housing revenues are the source of funding for projects connected to the University's Residential Life Initiatives (RLI), one of President Mary Sue Coleman's four main presidential priorities. Projects underway include a food emporium in Bursley Hall set to open this fall, and new fire alarm and fire suppression systems in Oxford Housing and Bursley. Mosher-Jordan Hall will become the first residence hall ever to undergo a comprehensive renewal and renovation. The building will close at the end of this term so work can begin. Construction on the adjacent new Hill Dining Center also will start this summer.

"We are very excited to begin work on the first two major residential construction projects on campus in almost 40 years," Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper said. "When the renovated Mosher-Jordan Hall and Hill Dining Center open in September 2008, U-M students will benefit from outstanding new residential and culinary experiences."

University Housing developed its 2006-07 rate increases in collaboration with key University business offices, the Residence Halls Association and the Northwood Community Apartments Rate Review Committee.

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