A too-high cost of living

DKS Editors

You could almost expect the fact that the university was going to raise the cost of room and board. Let’s be honest. It’s been years since they haven’t raised the price.

But that doesn’t matter. Even though we did expect it, and we understand the cost of living is constantly increasing, it’s nice to have a surprise once in a while — a surprise that would give students comfort that the university is on their side during the recession.

The fact is, students have been faced with this semester after semester. And this year there is no longer a freeze on tuition, so it’s even more of a burden for students to pay more.

We can understand a university needing more money when there is a tuition freeze, but when there aren’t even enough rooms to allow that all students will have a standard two-person dorm (some wind up rooming with more than one — some even end up in a lounge or with resident assistants), it doesn’t seem to make sense.

Even though these rooms where students are tripled or quadrupled are offered at a discounted price, they’re still not what most students would call cheap. The university cannot guarantee students will be getting their money’s worth. It’s difficult enough to pay for tuition alone, but when the costs keep piling up — and increasing year to year — it makes it even more difficult.

If the university plans to continue raising the room and board rate each year, it might be worth revisiting the policy that does not allow freshmen and sophomores to live in off-campus housing. Not only do many of these options offer a better deal for students, the prices aren’t necessarily rising at the same rate as room and board. Students should be given the option to shop around for the best price.

The same goes for meal plan prices. One of the most common complaints among students living on campus is that the food costs much more than food they could buy anywhere else — and now it’s rising another 4.85 percent. Again, if prices are going to continue to rise, students should be able to exercise all their options.

If there was a tuition freeze this upcoming school year, we might understand the university asking for more money for room and board. But students (and their guardians) are not earning any more money than they were last year — and they are especially not expected to earn more money now.

Kent State has continually stated its desire to keep students on campus. Raising room and board rates from year to year, while there are clearly cheaper options available, doesn’t seem to be the right way to go about doing this.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.