Residence rates on the rise

By Erick Maleko

In a move to cover higher debt payments associated with the recently built Yamnuska Hall and to respond to increasing operating costs, University of Calgary room and meal plan rates will increase starting next year.

After receiving recommendations from the Board of Governors, the increases were approved at the Feb. 21 Operations Committee meeting.

Residence Services had initially approached the Residence Students’ Association with proposals for the increases in November, 2011.

These increases come after last year’s increases, which ranged from three to 5.5 per cent.

Residence Services operates as an independent financial entity, meaning it doesn’t depend on other university bodies for operational funding.

In a summary document to the bog, a spokesperson for Residence Services indicated that the increases will allow them to keep up with negotiated labour increases, utility fees, debt servicing and general maintenance with minor improvements to the residence complex.

With internet and utilities being included, residence rates cover the full academic year from September to April.

The meal plan cost increase of three per cent is due to inflation in food prices and labour increases at Chartwells.

Due to some students finding the Ultimate Meal Plan — the largest available — too large and the Standard Meal Plan not large enough, a new meal plan called the Standard Plus Meal Plan will be introduced starting September, 2012.

Students living in Global Village will no longer be required to purchase a sampler Meal Plan.

“Due to education affordability being one of our top concerns, we’ve dedicated a lot of attention towards these increases,” said Students’ Union president Dylan Jones. “After a rigorous analysis, we came to vote in favour of residence fee increases because we thought the reasoning was fair.”

Jones said the price increase for the meal plan was turned down.

“As for the meal plan increases, we voted against it, our reasons stemming from complaints we’ve been getting from residence students concerning the already high cost of the meal plans,” said Jones.

First-year Rundle Hall resident Brandon Worhip said the food needs to be of higher quality before an increase should occur.

“Before they increase meal plan costs, they should first start offering better food,” said Worhip.

The increases are providing students with more of an incentive to live off campus.

“There’s little reason to live on campus after the first year. The meal plan cost is super high,” said Worhip. “You’re required to pay rent for an entire semester all at once, the internet is shitty and you’re paying $800 annual parking fees for a slot that is a 10-minute walk away.”

Changes will be effective as of May 1, 2012 for single-student housing and April 1 for family housing.

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