Increased housing fees impact CSUMB students

By Hailey Hill
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Friends (left to right) Megan Macias, Brittany Greenaway, and Eric Holst (freshmen) work together on filling out the Reservation Days housing application. Photo by Hailey Hill.

It’s no secret that pursuing higher education can be expensive, and for students at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), the costs of studying and living on campus are about to be a bit costlier.

As students begin to determine where, and with who, they will be living on campus in the fall, some have found they will be paying triple the amount for their housing deposit that students have in previous years.

The housing reservation deposit, which ensures a student’s ability to live on campus during the upcoming semester, has increased to $300, a sizeable increase from the previous $100 deposit required for previous semesters. A $40 non-refundable application fee is also in place.

This fee increase will not immediately affect all CSUMB students. When applying for the Fall 2019 semester, returning students who live on campus and choose to participate in the Reservation Days process will only be required to pay the original fee of $100, along with the non-refundable $40 application fee. Those affected by the fee increase include incoming freshman, students who lived off-campus during previous semesters and students who do not participate in Reservation Days.

Despite only a limited number of students being immediately affected by the increased fees, many students were less than happy to hear the news. Jaclyn Libhart, a junior transfer student at CSUMB, believes the increase to be unfair “because one of CSUMB’s big points to draw people in is the affordable on-campus housing.”

Libhart’s sister, junior transfer student Christiana Libhart, also weighed in on the issue, saying “the increase kind of makes it less desirable [to live on campus] … it tells me the school is going to start taking more from the students. If the benefits of living on campus [become] outweighed by the cost, than I rather live somewhere else.”

Commuter students are also feeling weary about the fee increase. Freshman Grace Douglas, who has been considering living on campus during the next academic year, explains that “having an increased registration cost makes me a little more reluctant to live on campus; however, the overall cost of living is what I think a lot of students are hesitant about … it is one of the bigger costs that we have on campus and for people with low-income families or people that are paying for themselves, it is a bigger deal.”

Despite the voiced concern of many students, the increase in fees does serve an important, and beneficial, purpose. James Kimbrell, the market and outreach coordinator for student housing, explained that the increase is in part “to create more of a commitment to CSUMB … with the lower deposit, there has been a greater chance of students canceling, or no-showing for their assignment. Knowing that a student is more likely to be fully committed to attending CSUMB and moving into their space makes the job of assigning bed spaces, and getting roommate information to students easier and much more certain.”

Kimbrell also assured that the money never goes any further than the paying student. “All deposits go towards fall housing charges, so that money is not lost,” he added, “Keep in mind that when putting down a deposit on an apartment off campus, a renter typically has to put down the equivalent of an entire month’s rent as a deposit.” As in many aspects, college living essentially mirrors “real-world” situations.

As for the non-refundable application fee, Kimbrell stated that this fee “goes towards all administrative costs including the new application portal, the assignment process, new virtual housing tours etc. This is in line with both housing at other universities, as well as standard off campus apartment applications.”

Kimbrell concluded with the reminder that, “if a student has trouble paying the deposit, we will be more than happy to connect them with the appropriate people on campus to help with financial aid, or payment plans, but they need to reach out to us in a timely manner.”

It is also critical “to read the new license carefully. There have been several changes and [you] need to be aware of all dates, fees and deadlines.” Being informed is the best way to guarantee that you navigate the application process with success and ease.

If you currently live on campus and plan on participating in Reservation Days to secure a place to live on campus during the next academic year, be sure to submit your application and payment by the Feb. 22 deadline in order to take advantage of the reduced fee. If you miss this deadline, you will be required to pay at the increased rate. Emails will be sent out to inform students of other upcoming deadlines.

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