Students living in on-campus residence halls must pay a new $300 fee to stay in their hall during winter break, officials announced earlier this month.
This fee applies to students who plan to stay in their residence hall past the closing date in December or who plan to return before the opening date in January.
T.J. Logan, the associate vice president for Student Affairs, said the fee was added to cover the buildings’ operational costs.
“Utilities and paying staff and security make up this cost,” he said. “This cost is not built into semester housing rates. It is only charged to the students who use this service.”
“Winter break fees are very common in campus housing nationally,” Logan added. “They are put in place to cover the cost of having the building open.”
Students must vacate their residence halls by Wednesday, Dec. 20 before 10 p.m. in accordance with the university Housing License, which sets the policies for a student’s housing contract. This license is put in place to ensure that students understand the policies, rules and procedures of the residence halls. Residence halls will reopen for the spring semester on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m.
If students are unable to leave by the Dec. 20 closing date due to conflicting exams or travel plans, they will be permitted to stay in their residence halls until Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. free of charge, Logan said.
If students wish to stay past Dec. 21 or arrive earlier than the Jan. 13 reopening date, they must pay the winter break housing extension fee. University Housing and Residential Life sent an email to students informing them of the fee on Nov. 13.
Students can apply for extensions on TUPortal. The deadline to apply for a winter break housing extension is Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. Students will be charged an extra $50 if they apply past this deadline.
Makalyn Kowalik, a freshman sociology major living in Hardwick Hall, said she believes the fee is unfair. She lives more than 1,000 miles away in Oklahoma City and has to stay on campus until Dec. 22.
“It’s ridiculously expensive for just an extra day,” she said.
“I either have to pay the extension fee or I have to get a hotel to stay overnight,” she added. “So being far away is kind of an inconvenience.”
“I’m going to have to use extended housing in December,” said Faith Meier, a freshman film major living in Hardwick Hall who’s from Huntsville, Alabama. “I don’t have any choice in that fact that I can’t come home earlier.”
If students are unable to afford this fee, they should contact the Assignments and Billing office in 1910 Liacouras Walk, Logan said.
“[The fee] is less about being beneficial to the university, and more about continuing to be responsible stewards of student resources,” Logan added. “It ultimately helps us to keep the cost of semester housing as affordable as possible.”