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Housing costs on the rise at UMass Lowell

(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell)
An overhead shot of Donahue and Bourgeois Halls on East Campus.

Jaimie Tanner
Connector Contributor

Cost plays a role every school year when UMass Lowell students are deciding to live on campus because they are normally strapped for money. For some students, the combined cost of tuition and fees is enough as is, they are just getting by, and the added cost of living on-campus makes that situation a little worse. For others, the price for all three factors combined is a perfect situation.

Forrest Finkler is the Director of Housing at UMass Lowell. When asked by The Connector about the pricing of on-campus dormitories, he said “I think it is very reasonable for where we are…for what we provide in terms of safe and secure housing you are really hard-pressed to find comparable housing off campus that can contain the same amount of square footage, same furnishings, and safety of the community is one of the most important things that we look at.” According to Finkler, living on campus is cheaper than renting a monthly apartment off campus. 

A student at UMass Lowell, Emily Vercelli, who is a junior commuter studying elementary education at UMass Lowell, disagrees by saying “It is pointless for people that live close enough and are able to commute because it is so expensive, and you only get a small amount of space,” she states. These are very contradictory statements, but it is needed to look at the statistics. Dorming on campus is overall cheaper than renting a one-bedroom apartment off campus. The average cost before aid is around $16,000 per year. 

Another UMass Lowell student, Samantha Goselin, a junior on campus student studying elementary education, disagrees with Vercelli. She states that the pricing is fair and that they “provide us with laundry, food, and furniture.” At the university, a lot goes into making the important decisions about housing costs.

The housing board tries to keep costs affordable for all their students. They look at the services they provide for the students, then with that total cost, make their final recommendation of what the total cost should be, and send it to the board. 

They also do annual reviews to ensure they are covering the costs of everything being provided to the students. A year and a half ago, UMass Lowel reduced the housing costs by a large majority. 

Finkler says “We have to make sure that the prices we are charging are covering the costs.” They need to make sure that they are making money and covering the costs that they are spending on the buildings each year, as it could have an impact on who decides to dorm here and who does not.

A lot of people may think that UMass Lowell’s costs for housing are expensive, but if you break down the individual costs and see what they are providing you may change your opinion. They provide laundry, meal plans, furniture, Wi-Fi, ac/heat and water.

There are few complaints about the price points on campus from parents or the student body. According to Finkler, he says “I think for the most part they understand the value of what they are getting for what they are paying.”

The opinions on the price point of housing at UMass Lowell are controversial but overall, Finkler says “the prices are in line with what people expect to pay for what they are being given.”

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