New Housing Hits Students in the Pocket

As UVM experiences more student applications each year and maintains the acceptance rate at a constant 80 percent, difficulties for the administration will be present in the form of the availability of beds for incoming students. As a result, there has been reform to make singles into doubles, doubles into triples and lounges into quads. But there may be relief in sight for the very near future: the University Heights North Quad is still on schedule for completion, meaning that there will be four hundred new beds on campus next semester. Unfortunately, for many who would like to move out of their cramped dorms, there will not be an option to move into the North Quad as it is reserved for Honors College students and first year students living in the Wing Dorms. Once the South Quad opens there will be an additional four hundred beds on campus, boosting the current number up by eight hundred, which will mean that any UVM student can apply to live there and UVM will also be able to accept more students and give them a more comfortable place to live. There seems to be obvious benefits of living in the new dorms, such as clean rooms and more privacy. But, along with the benefits of living in a new building, comes disadvantages too: there will be an increase in student room and board payments that will be used to pay off the thirty year debt that was accrued from construction costs. This increase in payment will not be reserved only for students living in the new buildings, but it appies to everyone living on campus. There will also be a potential increase in payments for students who live in specialty housing such as Living and Learning and the new University Heights buildings. This is still only tentative now, but there seems to be the possibility that it will become comparatively more expensive to live in an on-campus suite than in a traditional dorm. The implications of this could be that there will be a class division created in the student campus life, because one may be identified as wealthy simply because of the location in which they live. Or as Annie Stevens, the assistant Vice President of Student and Campus Life, said: “There will be more of a psychological impact on students because of the newness of the buildings, not because of the price it will cost to live there.” She argued that if anything were to create a division amongst students, it would be based upon the newness of the building in which they live, not the price it costs to live there. Although all the financial-aid issues that concern future room and board here at UVM are still being discussed, Annie Stevens was optimistic that the university would take all necessary options to make the North Quad affordable to any Honors College student who wanted to live there. This will help to secure all Honors College students with a residence in the building, despite financial prosperity. Stevens was also sure that room and board payments will be significantly higher in the future for those who live in specialty housing, such as Living and Learning and University Heights than it will be for students who live in traditional dorms. This is because of the unfairness that will result if “we don’t differentiate prices. Everyone will be expected to pull the same weight, meaning that people who live in Redstone will have to subsidize those who live in University Heights.” She argued that expecting this is simply not fair to those students who live in Redstone and other traditional dormitories. The reason that it will cost more to live in University Heights is “not because of the newness. It is based on the style of living,” said Stevens. There will be one bathroom for each person, or at least one for each room and there “will be a real sense of privacy.” Students will be charged on an eight-tier system that makes rooms like triples and quadruples some of the cheapest, while singles in buildings like University Heights or L and L the most expensive.