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Residence hall rate increase is a necessary evil

By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 6, 2000
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As residence hall rates stand, the annual amount paid is not much less than a neighboring apartment would cost.

Living on campus is no bargain.

However, as more students flood in to the University of Arizona, the prospect of having a home-away-from-home with no utilities cost and proximity to campus appears attractive to thousands.

In fact, it appears so attractive that a number of returning students have found themselves fighting to keep their homes. UA's Department of Residence Life has squeezed many students to outlying apartment complexes - an unsatisfactory solution that hopefully will not increase the absorption of nearby complexes in the UA's name.

The ultimate end - we all hope - to the housing problem at this university will be the construction of three new halls. The building of these sacred structures coupled with the Integrated Learning Center and the new student union will leave the student body with nothing to desire - or so we've been told.

But somebody has to pay for paradise. And it seems part of the burden will fall on the shoulders of the Res Lifers.

The regents today are hearing a proposal for an 8 percent hike in tuition rates - the largest rate increase in recent history. All campus residents will face an annual increase of $205. And while the current residents will no doubt be upset about the increase, seeking completion of the new dorms is the only way to relieve the overcrowding. The building costs must come from somewhere, and with the high demand for on campus housing, charging prospective residents only makes sense.

The best reason for this rate increase is the simple fact that the money is not going to come from anywhere else. The state is not going to cough up any more money. The tuition increase has been fought off with tooth and claw. And unless the UA has some super-platinum credit card that can charge millions of dollars based on the future revenue these residence halls will surely raise, the current residents will have to eat a small portion of the cost.

The university has to realize eventually that it can't live off of nothing forever. We're so broke, we're convinced that we're not. Tuition is so low for in-state students that the luxury has become a routine. And while increasing tuition is a lousy solution in any case, residence halls must be paid for by residents.

Ultimately, the supply and demand balance will answer to itself. So many people want housing that an increase is acceptable. If people are opposed to it, they will seek housing elsewhere.

But for now, the demand is so great that boosting cost to increase the supply only makes sense. If the numbers want more dorms so badly, then boosting rates won't phase the majority of the market.

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