Representatives from Penn State’s Housing and Food Services presented a planned increase to student room and board rates for the 2017-18 school year to the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business, and Capital Planning this morning at the Penn Stater.
The committee approved for recommendation to the full board a 3.15 percent increase in room and board rates across the university, citing increased capital assessment, student enrollment and beds, and typical inflation. This works out to a $165 increase per student per semester for those paying for a standard double room and mid-level meal plan. If the board approves the increase, each student paying for room and board across the Commonwealth will pay $5,395 for such housing, food, and other services.
If the board approves the increase, each student paying for room and board across the Commonwealth will pay $5,395 for such housing, food, and other services. Housing and Food Services deems this percent necessary to cover the costs that additional students will bring to Penn State, such as costs for potential maintenance and foodstuffs necessary to serve a larger student body.
This increase is in line with those of the last few years for room and board rates, slightly up from last year’s 3.05 percent. Historically, room and board rates have increased as follows over the last five years:
- 2012-13: 2.86%
- 2013-14: 4.23%
- 2014-15: 4.27%
- 2015-16: 3.89%
- 2016-17: 3.05 %
- 2017-18: 3.15% (pending board approval)
This room and board increase plays into Housing and Food Services overall budget increase of 7.75 percent university-wide, which in addition to capital assessment and the room and board increase is attributed to increased enrollment in the form of 413 beds across the Commonwealth. Some of that comes from University Park, where some beds will go offline for renovation while others will be added in the form of new buildings.
Where University Park has no problem filling dorm rooms — in fact, it faces a challenge in fitting all students in somewhere — some other schools have habitual issues in filling their dorms. Specifically, the Mont Alto, Beaver, and Greater Allegheny campuses have struggled to fill the housing they have. Other than that, however, the trustees said they are not terribly concerned about not being able to fill beds at Penn State.
Housing and Food Services determined earlier this year it will also be consolidating the meal plans this upcoming fall, moving from six options to three in an effort to make things less confusing for students. Committee meetings will continue throughout the day today and the full board will convene tomorrow to vote on this and other recommendations made by committees.