The University of Houston is raising the cost of housing for the new school 2012-2013 year by 5 percent. For most of housing, this increase applies to semester rates, so residents are looking at paying from $100 to $150 extra and possibly more. During The University of Houston Dining and Housing Town Hall meeting February 7 and 8, university officials not only proposed the increases to housing rates, but also improvement projects in the works that the increase in rates, besides accounting for the rising cost of living, would go toward. Such as including electricity with rent, upgraded security and free laundry and electricity. Residents at Calhoun Lofts are hit by the rent hike the hardest, as the 5 percent increase goes toward monthly (as opposed to semester) rent, and the increase in price sometimes eclipses $250 extra a semester paid. Improvements exclusive to Calhoun Lofts are decreasing of the transfer fee, easier agreement processes, and a new door from the main lobby to the elevator lobby. When asked if the increase was worth it, however, Calhoun Lofts residents seemed less than enthusiastic.
“The increase is not worth the benefits, at least for me,” William Garlick, a business major living on the 9th floor, said. “It’s probably a loss for the majority of the people here. The loss is greater than the gain as a whole.”
To delve into that, the average resident at Calhoun Lofts, even when using an above average amount of electricity, usually doesn’t exceed the old electricity cap. This is mainly due to the energy efficiency of the building. Also, students spend close to $10 a month, equating to about $50 a semester, paying for the laundry machines. Another odd fact is that while students at the lofts pay the increase at a monthly rate, the leases are by the semester, and sometimes even span over an academic year. Since that is the case, and since the benefits that Calhoun Lofts are often arbitrary, why does Calhoun Lofts receive a more costly policy on the increase?
“They should allow residents the option of whether or not they want a cap.” C. T. Bauer College of Business graduate Eric Tran said.
Tran explained that the students who use a lot of power benefit from the rate increase, and those who do not can choose to pay less rent for not going over.
Two new construction projects for housing are due to be completed almost a year from now, but according to USNews.com, only 15 percent of students live on-campus.
UH should make a larger effort to fix what has been broken or have a more clear justification before increasing rates and trying to expand housing, if what the residents of the lofts had to say is any indication.
It may just increase the statistic.
For more information about housing and dining information for the new academic year, see
the PDF file from the aforementioned meeting at www.uh.edu/af/universityservices/housing/
Jacob Patterson is a business senior and may be reached at email@example.com.