The continuously rising dorm rates and limited housing availability at the University of Tampa has led many students to leave the convenience of living on campus. While living on campus is clearly the most ideal situation as a student, it is becoming less and less feasible for many students to do so, including myself.
Campus room rates range from $1,750 to $4,954 with the words “per semester” small print, on the University of Tampa’s website. In addition to this the required cost of the meal plan varies from $1,256 to $2,330 and is a requirement for full-time dorm dwellers. A triple room in Austin cost $2,096 per semester in 2011, compared to the $2,278 per semester for the same room in 2014.
These rates continue to increase as more students are being accepted to the university, limiting the space available in residence halls. Overflow housing at the Barrymore Hotel and triple resident rooms in five of the main campus dorms are evidence of this.
Freshman nursing major Shannon Walsh said she has “Already had enough of dorm life.” While she mentions lack of space and difficulty having guests over as some of her concerns, the main problem is cost. Don’t get me wrong, having a tight-knit community around you and knowing you can roll out of bed five minutes before class in the morning is definitely nice. But paying an arm and a leg for obligatory fees and meal plans just isn’t worth it.
“Paying for the dorms is so much more expensive than just getting an apartment, plus you have to pay for a meal plan on campus which I hardly ever use and there are so many extra fees.” Walsh is currently looking for an affordable apartment off campus for the upcoming school year.
With more competition for upperclassmen to get into the more desired dorms, many are opting to move off campus. Students with more credits get the better dorms which leaves underclassmen to pick from the scraps. While living on campus is more convenient for getting to class and having more access to school events, some simply cannot afford it, especially since you won’t get as much bang for your buck.
There are currently 12 residence halls on campus, and the addition of the Palm Apartments will be completely open for the Fall 2015 semester. However, this new option is the most expensive living space.
Of the available 13, only four have kitchens, which is a problem for many students. Junior accounting major Camila Rodriguez said that she would have liked a kitchen in her dorm for next year. She would prefer to cook since she often doesn’t use all of her meal swipes, which wastes money.
Of the four options with kitchens, Rodriguez said, “Urso and Straz are too far away from my class buildings, and the Palm Apartments are way too expensive.” Rodriguez will be living in Jenkins Hall next year, a compromise she made with the group she wanted to live with.
Sophomore journalism major Nicole Pieklo has lived on campus for all two of her years at UT, but said that, “On campus housing has gotten to be ridiculously expensive. Living on campus was convenient when I was an underclassman, but I feel like now an apartment would be so much easier, and that’s what I’m working towards for my senior year.”
Katherine Wolf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.