Trustees vote to increase room and board rates for fall 2020

Wyatt Loy Reporter

Despite a $2 million increase in need-based funding to support lower- and middle-income students, incoming freshmen are going to incur increased room and board costs this fall.

The Kent State Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday to increase rates by 3.24 percent — $80 per semester — which will go to renovations to dorms and a new dining hall.

“The main project we’ll be working on is replacing the HVAC system in Verder Hall,” said Jill Jenkins, executive director of residence services. As Verder Hall is the only residence hall without air conditioning, Jenkins said it’s a top priority to perform those renovations.

Jenkins also said the money from the increased rate will go to new windows for Fletcher and Manchester Hall, new paint and furniture in all residence halls as needed, kitchens in halls without them and a new dining area in the Design Innovation Hub, scheduled for completion in fall 2020. 

“We remain in the middle of the pack as far as room and board rates go,” said Lamar Hylton, interim vice president for student affairs. “I think these rates reflect a balance between our philosophy and the need to be operational.”

Hylton said a large portion of increases not only to room and board rates but also to parking passes and fines are based on the “operational cost of both enterprises,” as well as compensating for future Living Learning Communities and the DI Hub.

“It’s important to note that this increase will not affect current students who are on the Tuition Guarantee program,” said Mark Polatajko, senior vice president for finance and administration. “Three years ago, we implemented that program and students are paying that same tuition and room and board rate for their whole four years.”

Polatajko said the choice to renovate the existing Verder Hall, instead of demolishing it to make space for the College of Business Administration building and a new parking deck, is made to save money in the long run. 

Polatajko also noted the increased room rate will only apply to students in double rooms.

“With approval, the renovation to Verder Hall will begin immediately,” Polatajko said. “It’s scheduled for completion in summer 2021, just in time for the fall 2021 freshman class.”

Wyatt Loy covers administration. Contact him at [email protected].