Record-breaking numbers in enrollment have forced Butler University officials to make changes in housing options for juniors next year—changes that are making some students angry.
Next year’s juniors will have only one option for on-campus housing—the Apartment Village.
The decision concerned some current sophomores who say that the more than $2,000 difference in cost between AV and the University Terrace apartments could impact their ability to attend Butler.
This year, students living in shared rooms in UT paid $5,770. Students living in singles at AV paid $7,860.
“The vast majority of [my friends] cannot afford to live in Apartment Village and will probably have to transfer schools because we don’t live close enough to commute,” said sophomore Heather Iwinski, who first heard rumors about the policy change from a resident assistant last week.
The resident assistant requested not to be quoted or attributed.
The slim options are disconcerting, sophomore chemistry major Jeremy Algate said.
“I don’t like being told that I can room in AV, room with sophomores I don’t know, or go to another school,” he said. “I just don’t like those options.”
As of press time, the university has made no official announcement of the change to the student body.
In an e-mail to Iwinski, Associate Director of Residence Life Doug Howell said more information would be made available about housing finance specifics next week.
Some students feel like they should have known by now that the option of UT would not be available.
Howell said he has answered questions that he has received from concerned students like Iwinski.
“We weren’t aware of this policy when we agreed to come to Butler,” sophomore Karl Wiersum said. “We weren’t even told at the beginning of the year. In fact, we still haven’t officially been made aware of it.
“If I had known earlier, I would have tried to live off-campus. Now it’s basically too late to search for any other options.”
But Howell said that since AV opened, it has always been the on-campus housing option for juniors and that in the past, only a limited number of spots in UT were made available to juniors each year.
This year, that number was around 40.
Howell said AV’s amenities, including an Aug. 1 to May 31 housing contract that includes all holiday break periods, explains the higher cost.
“You have to pay the rate for the place you live,” Howell said. “There is no way to change that. Considering the amenities and length of stay, the charge for the Village is in line with the other housing charges at Butler.”
Sophomore Taylor Meador considered living off-campus next year since she is in commuting range, but the costs of utilities made her decide to stay on campus.
“I’m not opposed to living in AV,” Meador said. “The apartments are nice and we get heating and air conditioning, electric and gas, water and cable and Internet included, which are things that I didn’t think about.”
Amenities are nice, Iwinski said, but when she worries about factors such as student loans and other costs, it’s not what is most important.
“I don’t care about the amenities I will have the Village,” she said. “I would much rather have the money.”
Howell also said in an e-mail sent to Wiersum that when the cost of food is factored into the equation, the cost of living at AV is actually similar to what underclassmen pay.
“If a Village resident spent all of that on food in the 10 months living in the Village, he or she would end up paying the same as for the year in ResCo while getting more amenities in the Village,” Howell said.
Students living in AV or UT are not required to pay for a meal plan, which costs $2,585 per semester this year.
Students argue that while they will save money by not having to purchase a meal plan, they would have to spend even less if they lived in UT.
“[We have] those same amenities at UT at a cheaper price,” Algate said.
Students who believe they will not be able to afford the contract at AV can apply for a housing exception form, which will be considered by Dean of Student Life Irene Stevens, Howell said.
“You need to document how paying the extra money for next year would prevent you from attending Butler,” Howell said. “You will need to provide financial documents about your own situation as well as documentation of what about your family situations that may have changed that would prevent you from returning.”
If a student is approved, they will be placed in an apartment in an open space in UT. Assignments are based on the spaces available at the time and are done on an individual basis, Howell said.
The Board of Trustees will decide on next year’s housing charges and fees sometime next month. Howell said he expects those prices to increase by about 5 percent.
Other students are optimistic about next year’s living arrangements.
“I will choose to look at the bright side,” sophomore Doug Johnson said. “AV will probably be one of the nicest places I’ll ever live in my life.”