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Tuesday April 24, 2001

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Residence hall rates increase by 7.1 percent for next year

By Katie Clark

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Students say they are not thrilled, but understanding

Despite a recently approved increase in residence hall rates that will demand up to an additional $354 for housing next year, some residents still prefer the convenience of living on campus.

"I don't have a car, so it would be harder for me to live off campus," said Erin Young, an anthropology junior and resident of Maricopa Residence Hall.

The 7.1 percent increase would bring rates - which now range from $2,212 to $5,063 - to about $2,366 to $5,417 per year. The cost of single rooms in La Paz and Pima House would increase the most, roughly $354.

Last year's increase was slightly higher, upping dorm rates by 7.6 percent.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the increase at their April 11 meeting at Northern Arizona University.

"I'm not exactly happy about it, but I'll deal with it," said Young, who is planning on living in a dorm again in the fall.

Jim Van Arsdel, UA Residence Life director, said the revenue generated by the increase will go toward new residence halls, increasing staff salaries and covering the costs of utilities.

"The cost of air conditioning has quadrupled over the past couple of years," he said.

Van Arsdel also said Residence Life relies solely on money generated by the residents, which adds to the financial strain.

"We are a self-supporting unit," he said. "Our expenses must be covered by revenue we generate ourselves."

Compared to Arizona State University, UA offers both slightly less expensive and more expensive housing. ASU's rates range from $2,790 to $4,332 per year.

Van Arsdel also said students would rather see a gradual increase in rates.

"It's not like a Band-Aid where you can pull it off fast," he said. "We have to do it more slowly."

Still, some students say they think the increase is unfair, particularly to out-of-state students who have less of an option when it comes to finding a place to live, said Patrick Hadley, an engineering freshman and resident of Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall.

"It's not like (students) have much of a choice," Hadley said.

But Hadley also said students should live in the dorm for their first year just for the experience. "Even with the hike, it's good to live there and meet new people," he said.