On-campus housing needs to be more affordable

2020 is bringing a lot of changes to the UM community. A quick walk across campus will show you how much more vibrant and lively (and packed) campus is. Our philanthropic mission is progressing as we opened an office in Mexico City to connect with scholars and innovators in Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. And most notably, Lakeside Village, the new state-of-the-art addition to residential spaces, is wrapping up. These are all facets of UM’s larger plan to become a leading institution in the new century. But with the per-semester prices of the Lakeside Village being almost a $3,000 increase to the current price of a double room in Eaton or Stanford, the lack of affordability could change the way students go about finding housing.

As Stanford is being torn down, freshmen will now have the opportunity to live in the Mahoney and Pearson dorms, which some students have said might change the freshman experience negatively. The Lakeside Village will be the primary living space for current freshmen who will become sophomores next year. However, for some financially challenged students and their families, who are already budgeting the cost of on-campus housing with the rest of UM’s almost 70k tuition, the new prices of the suites and apartments at the Lakeside Village might come as a huge surprise. According to the housing rates, a student living in Eaton, Mahoney or Pearson is paying $8,460 per academic year. If they move to Lakeside Village, the cheapest accommodation, a double suite, will cost $11,950 per academic year. Though the amenities and rooms seem exciting, it reduces the possibility of students being able to afford to live on-campus. With the new influx of students and turnover to other dorms such as the UVs, there might not even be space for those students who want to opt-out of the Lakeside Village.

Students living in all other dorms will also see a slight $400-500 increase in their rates as well.

Housing and the community you live with is essential to the college experience. This is why there is an emphasis on showing prospective students the dorms when they come on visits and diversifying the residential experience with things such as First-Year Fellows and multiple faculty members assigned to a residential dorm. For a school such as the University of Miami, living on-campus could be essential to the complete Miami experience. It’s a testament to why UM has a multi-year plan to revamp our housing. However, revamping and making the experience better will mean nothing if half of the students cannot afford it. Our school is painstakingly expensive and it must not be forgotten that a large percentage of our students are on scholarships and aid. We know that there has been a steady plan to raise UM’s visibility on the national collegiate scale, but we must be careful not to warp our image into an overly expensive and unfairly exclusive school as our overall tuition rate goes up each year.

Our administration wants the school to be more forward and innovative moving into the new year. They took a great step by doing this when they announced their plans to meet all financial need for admitted Florida residents. Other great steps could include giving adequate aid all four years to subset the rising tuition cost and having affordable on-campus housing. On the roadmap to our new century, we mustn’t just be innovative in looks or architecture, but also our values and dedication to the students.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

Featured image by Jared Lennon