KALAMAZOO--Acting at their April 19 meeting, Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees approved a 2 percent increase on residence hall room-and-board rates and rental rates for most campus apartments. The increase is effective with the start of the fall 2012 semester.
The new rates mean that a new student living in a campus residence hall and subscribing to the mid-level 15-meal plan will pay $8,206 for the academic year--up $161 over the 2011-12 rate. Students opting for the 10-meal or unlimited meal plans will pay $7,724 or $8,414, respectively.
The rate increase will not affect current students returning to traditional campus residence halls. As part of the Western Edge, WMU's Residence Hall and Dining Advantage program will continue to ensure that food and housing rates will remain the same for four consecutive years. The program has saved families $1.5 million since its inception in 2008.
"WMU is committed to keeping educational environments affordable, attainable and attractive," said Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs, as she presented the recommendation to the board. "The change this year will allow us to create on-campus community housing areas where students want to pursue their academic and future career goals. Plus, our research shows that a positive campus living experience contributes to higher graduation rates, better academic performance and an increased connection with the university."
The trustees' approval of the recommendation also means that rental rates for most on-campus apartments will increase by 2 percent. Beginning this fall, apartment rental rates will range from $609 to $893 monthly, depending on location and size and whether or not the units are furnished. The rate change means, for instance, a two-bedroom furnished Stadium Drive apartment will cost $759 per month, an increase of $15 monthly.
In addition to the Stadium Drive units, the new rates apply to Goldsworth Valley and Elmwood apartments. The rate change does not apply to the Western View apartment-style complex. New rates for that complex were set and approved by trustees in September.
WMU currently operates 20 residence halls, six dining facilities, six cafes, four apartment-style complexes and one residential complex. In fall 2012, 5,729 students lived on campus, 94 percent of degree-seeking first-time freshmen chose to live in the residence halls, and the 579 apartment-style and residential units operated at 98 percent occupancy.
A strategic internal planning and budgeting strategy has allowed the University to develop significant incentives and discounts for housing, while spending $18 million for renovations, repairs, and safety and sustainability improvements.
In addition to the Residence Hall and Dining Advantage program that freezes room and board rates for up to four years, these additional options are available to students:
- Room Grant Scholarships, available to qualifying students through a collaborative Student Affairs and Financial Aid program;
- The Academic Achievement Incentive that gives returning students with a grade point average of 3.25 or higher the opportunity to live in a single occupancy residence hall room at their double occupancy Advantage rate;
- Single occupancy rooms for transfer students living in Hoekje Hall offered at the double occupancy rate; and
- A Second-Year Experience learning community in French Hall that focuses on common second-year issues and assists with internship guidance, studying abroad and networking with WMU alumni.