On Monday, Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas announced in an email a plan to institute a single housing rate across all College residences. The plan will be implemented over the next four academic years and will eliminate the cost disparities between different room sizes and residence types.
Currently, there are separate prices for single, double and triple rooms in residence halls and apartments. This academic year, singles in residence halls cost $3,800 per semester, doubles $2,800 and triples $2,150. Prices are also split across type of building: All three room sizes cost $500 more per semester in an apartment than they do in a residence hall. The new plan will shift housing charges from six rates to one rate that lies somewhere in the middle. “The top end would be much less expensive; the bottom end would cost a little bit more,” Limas said.
The change will be enacted gradually: The current six-rate system will remain in place for the 2023-24 academic year. For the two years after that, it will shift to three different room rates for full apartments, partial apartments (apartments without kitchens) and residence halls. The single-rate system will take effect in the 2026-27 academic year.
According to Limas, the College chose a slow transition process rather than immediately switching to the one-rate system for two reasons: First, Kenyon has already packaged financial aid for the next academic year, and any changes in housing prices would interfere with those packages. Second, the construction of Bexley Hall and new residences in the South Quad will increase the number of apartments and suites on campus to almost half of the total number of residences on campus by 2026, adding more balance to the housing mix.
Limas said the motivation for the change stemmed from wanting to alleviate economic inequities, pointing out that Peirce Dining Hall operates under a fixed meal plan rather than charging students for individual swipes, and that the College charges the same for tuition across all majors, despite some requiring more infrastructure and resources than others. To Limas, the differential in housing prices stood out as another opportunity to equalize costs across students.
“None of you ever look at each other and say, ‘Well I don’t eat as much at Peirce [Dining Hall], so you should be paying more than me,’” Limas said. “And no one ever says, ‘Well, my major doesn’t require me to do as much as you do, so you should be paying more.’ We want students to be as successful as they can and not have finances dictate how much you’re going to be benefiting from your time here.”
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Dazed and Confused
However, it is common for one to pay accordingly for the amenities they receive. It makes no sense to pay the same for a single as it does to live in an apartment. I will believe these renovation plans when I see them. These moldy new apts are definitely not worth the same rate as a brand new suite.
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