Pushing students away

While tuition and housing hikes are necessary, they will continue to drive students to live off campus.

More than a month after the Board of Trustees announced that tuition would increase by $600 during the 2014-15 academic school year, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Ken Kaiser said room and board increases were likely in the near future.

The possible increase comes as an effort to “make housing profitable by 2018.”

But the higher rates could have the reverse effect, further pushing students to other cheaper, non-Temple affiliated options.

Morgan Hall, built two years ago at a cost of $216 million, was constructed in an effort to make more housing options available on Main Campus to keep students from moving offsite.

 “First and foremost, there’s a demand for on-campus housing,” Michael Scales, associate vice president for student affairs told The Temple News last year. “We fill a concern that’s valued. We’re filling concerns from campus safety services to proximity, to resources.”

However, students of Philadelphia’s “public university” cannot continue to be expected to reach into their pockets to pay for the housing office’s accumulating debt.

Breaking down the numbers, an average Temple student paid more than $800 a month in 2012-13 to live in a Temple-affiliated dorm, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. An off-campus apartment goes for about $600 a month.

Average room rates at Temple have increased by $2,804 between the 2000-01 academic year and the 2012-13 year, according to the NCES.

And it seems the increase is already driving students elsewhere.

Temple – which only provides dorm options for 16.6 percent of its students, the lowest of the top five universities in Philadelphia – has vacancies.

On Aug. 27, the Office of University Housing and Residential Life sent an email to the student body informing that on-campus options were still available.

If making housing profitable is the main target, then the university should rely less on student revenue, and more so on providing housing for  attendees of “high-end” conferences in Philadelphia.

That way, Morgan Hall might be worth the money it took to build.

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