Although President Beverly Warren said it is too early to tell if Gov. John Kasich’s plan to freeze tuition in 2017 will be put into place, it does cause concern about where that money could be made up in the future.

One place increases could be seen is in raising room and board rates.

This is not a new concept: In the last five years, Kent State has raised room and board rates at least twice, with the current cost totaling $9,908 for a double occupancy room and a basic meal plan.

Jill Church, director of Residence Services, said there are a number of contributing factors that go into raising room and board, such as an increase in the cost of utilities, staffing and food that is sometimes due to inflation.

“Room and board generally increases because of the cost of services that it takes for those operations,” Church said.

Being able to fix unforeseen repairs and maintain or renovate the university can also affect the costs students are paying to live on campus. 

“Whether there was going to be a rate increase or not, these students would still be seeing improvements,” Church said.

Expected improvements include adding air conditioning to Prentice Hall along with other renovations that have been budgeted for a number of years, Church said.

“I feel like if room and board goes up, it will end up being way more expensive than just getting an apartment,” said Ja’Nay Patterson, a sophomore middle childhood education major.

Being from Stow, Patterson said her parents could even make her commute from their home to save money — a decision Patterson said would change the way she looked at her college years.

“I wanted the full university experience,” she said. “Just being on campus is a lot better than being off campus and commuting.”

Church said the university never wants to be priced at a level where students can’t afford to live on campus.

“We watch what’s happening nationally (and) what’s happening regionally, related to housing costs,” Church said. “We consider what’s happening on the tuition side of the house because when students are deciding how much it’s going to cost to go to college, they’re not just looking at housing, they’re looking at tuition and housing. So we have to be aware of the big picture with all of those pieces.”

Church also said in order to reduce costs in the residence halls, energy conservation measures are taken, from simply changing out light bulbs to even more advanced technology, including temperature-censored windows that communicate with a corresponding thermostat.

Caleb Valle, a senior economics major, said getting a better deal off campus really depended on a person’s individual living situation.

“I would still choose to live in an apartment over a dorm, but… at least with the dorms, you’re very aware of what the costs are upfront,” Valle said.

Out of the 13 Ohio public universities, Church said Kent State is ranked seventh on a list for affordability (one being the most expensive) and doesn’t plan on leaving that position.

“We’re right in the middle of the pack, and we don’t want to be any higher,” she said. “So even as we consider our increases, we’re making sure we’re not moving up on that list.” 

Contact Christina Godfrey at cgodfre@kent.edu.

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