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Dormitory fee increase angers many residents

By Daily Bruin Staff

May 9, 1996 9:00 pm

Tuesday, May 10, 1994

Housing officials cite special projects, inflation for 6 percent
price hikeBy Ryan Ozimek

Daily Bruin Contributor

While undergraduate student government and other campus
organizations fight rising student fees, another fee hike is taking
place right under their noses ­ the largest on-campus housing
price increase in the past five years.

Looking to pay for special housing projects, maintenance and
rising lease rates, the On-Campus Housing department has found it
necessary to pass the costs onto the students.

"The rate increase comes out of a combination of all the
expenses we will need to pay for in the future," explained Michael
Foraker, director of housing administration.

Next year, freshman and returning students will be paying about
6 percent more to live on campus as compared to this year,
translating into a revenue increase of about $2.4 million for the
housing department.

"We’ve got a zero-based budget here at the housing department,"
said Dan Les, the business manager for UCLA On-Campus Housing. "We
look at the services we need to provide to our residents and then
decide how to make the revenue necessary to implement those
services."

The housing department is a financially self-sufficient business
and is separate from the university. It pays for all on-campus
housing projects through housing payments by its residents.

Some housing projects currently underway include the remodeling
of Rieber Hall’s dining facilities, the construction of an
international students center and the building of a new residence
hall called Northwest Campus II ­ all of which are financially
supported by students payments.

The construction of a new housing complex, Northwest Campus II,
is the most costly of the three major projects. Its construction is
a large reason why on-campus housing costs will significantly
increase this year, Les said.

"Usually when we plan to build a new housing complex, we
increase housing costs over a few years in order to avoid one large
jump during the years of construction," Les said.

But some students returning to on-campus housing next year
questioned the use of fee increases to sponsor the new
building.

"Students are having a hard enough time paying for the rising
costs of a (college) education," said first-year history student
Andrew Chong, who lives in Hedrick Hall "We don’t need any more
additional costs, especially when they’re not even going to effect
us."

The Northwest Campus II, still in its infant stage of
development, is scheduled for completion sometime during the latter
half of 1998.

About $5 million collected from residents’ payments will also be
invested to completely renovate Rieber Hall’s dining facilities,
which will be completed by winter 1997.

"We saw that we had over enough eating facilities, but instead
of closing one of the cafeterias down, we decided to renovate one
of them," Les said.

The increase in housing fees will also help fund the
construction of the new Bradley International Center, which is
being built at the base of the Dykstra Hall.

The center will become a new home for the Office of
International Students and the International Students Center, which
will mainly serve foreign students. It will consist of conference
areas and a new cafe similar to Puzzles, the small eatery located
in Sunset Village.

Yet the idea of having all on-campus residents pay for the
center sparked some resentment.

"It doesn’t appear to me that one of on-campus housing’s main
objectives is to provide affordable housing for students," said
Frank Tiernan, a first-year computer science and engineering
student who lives in Hedrick Hall "They seem more concerned with
individual projects than students as a whole."

But housing officials felt that by building the center, the
housing association is meeting a larger university goal.

"Just like when Griffin Commons was made, all on campus
residents will benefit from the Bradley Center," Les said. "We need
to serve the larger university community as a whole."

Planned to be finished during the 1997 winter quarter, the
International Students Center should open at the same time the
Rieber Hall cafeteria is completed, Les added.

A concern to many students was the way in which the housing
department is increasing fees. Instead of adding an equal amount of
money to each residential hall’s room rates, the department is
increasing all by an equal percentage.

By doing this, students returning to their two-person rooms in a
high rise next year will pay an additional $370 while those
returning to two-person Sunset Village rooms will pay an additional
$445 next year.

"I don’t think it’s right for the housing department to make me
pay a larger increase in rates to live in the suites next year than
if I were to return to Sproul next year," argued Royce Bancroft, a
first year undeclared student. "I shouldn’t be penalized just
because I want to live in the suites."

But Les countered that the cost of living in Sunset Village is
more expensive than those of the other residential halls. Services
such as weekly in-room maid service make the costs higher to live
in that residential area.

The six percent increase will continue for the next two years,
according to housing officials.

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