The Ferris State University Board of Trustees has approved a zero percent increase rate for room and board to keep costs low amid rising tuition.
“We always strive to keep costs as low as possible,” Director of Housing and Residence Life Jon Shaffer said. “With the cuts in state funding to higher education over the years the university has had to make some tough decisions about how it operates to keep higher education as affordable as possible.”
Even as an auxiliary service, which means Housing does not receive state or university general funding, Housing and Residence Life has taken great steps to keep the overall cost of attending Ferris as low as possible.
“This decision was in part due to my recommendation that we not raise our rates for the coming school year,” Shaffer said. He is very pleased being able to hold rates the same from this year to next.
Samantha Bankey, junior in the public relations program, said she moved out of the residence halls because it was so expensive. “I figured I could get a Bridge Card and it would dramatically cut my costs and loans, but then they changed the terms for getting Bridge Cards. However, even without a Bridge Card, my rent and food costs half of what Ferris’ room and board cost me.”
The Ferris room and board rate of $8,744 is based on pricing for the most popular plan choice for Ferris students.
“I think it is fair to say that we recognize the myriad benefits of students living on campus. We will always do what we can to entice students to stay knowing it is truly in students’ best interests,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer feels that the comprehensive university experience gained through living on campus, when students truly engage in the fuller university experience, cannot be duplicated when living off campus.
“Because I do not have a car up here, I have chosen to live on campus, so having the rates not go up next year is beneficial to me,” Emily Tiesenga, sophomore in the graphic design, said.
Under housing regulations, students have the option to live off campus if they are 20 years of age or older prior to the first day of the first semester.
“Residence halls are too expensive, but Ferris traps us by telling us when we’re allowed to move off campus. It doesn’t seem fair to force students to pay more than they want to,” Bankey said.
“While it is convenient and even habitual to want to report the negatives of on-campus housing and dining, you cannot argue with the staggering statistic of over 90 percent of our residents consistently report being ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with living on-campus,” Shaffer said.
“Even though the residence hall costs aren’t being raised, it’s still a growing concern for the cost of tuition. Room and board is expensive, but prices for classes are outrageously expensive,” Bankey said.
Bankey also said, “It’s not fair that since our state is in a debt crisis that they choose to punish students who already have no money to get out of their debt situation. When they raise tuitions of state universities, that’s what happens.”
“Demonstrating our commitment to keeping costs low is sure to be appreciated by our students and their families,” Shaffer said.
With a rate increase of 1.9 percent over two years, the ongoing renovations of facilities, expansion of the Wi-Fi network in the residence halls, building the East Campus Suites, and the renovation of the Rock Café are some factors that have contributed to the decision.
“Our facilities allow for a wonderfully enriching learning environment where the fuller higher education experience can be realized,” Shaffer said. “This incredibly enriching out-of-classroom learning experience greatly enhances inside the classroom learning to create the best college education possible.”