I think Serrano Village dorms would be a more attractive place to live if the rooms offered were cheaper.
To live in the dorms all three quarters would cost you $4,806 or $534 a month, but when you add the mandatory meal plan that total jumps to $6,882.
That’s a lot to pay for a room but that cost includes various maintenance fees such as tech support, cable, electricity and other amenities.
Looking at the month to month rent freshmen dorms do seem affordable.
But when you look at the regular school year as a whole it’s a lot to pay for a shared room, a shared bathroom, and a shared kitchen and living area with roughly 40 people, plus guests.
While housing claims the included amenities is a positive side to living on campus, most city apartments will also have the same amenities included in your rent.
Your only responsible for separate bills like cable, internet, electricity, gas and water.
Some places even offer free water, and paying your own amenity bills are actually on the cheaper side as long as you don’t have the habit of leaving lights on all night.
I feel like this payment set up can push student interest in the freshmen dorms away.
A simple peek at apartment websites and visits to apartments in the campus area show a lower cost narrative of student living.
Student Carolina Meza canceled her freshmen dorm contract and moved into an apartment where she shares rent with her sister and two other students just a five minute drive from campus.
“When you live in an apartment with friends its cheaper in the long run,” said Meza. “Sure freshmen dorms are $1,500 a quarter, but there is the extra charge of the mandatory meal plan so it’s way easier to pay $300-$500 a month and have your own kitchen.”
Group renting apartments or houses is a popular option among students.
A large monthly rent can be split between students saving everyone money year round.
Students do have a wish to experience life on campus and looking into cheaper freshman housing can benefit both students and campus housing.
Cheaper rent will bring in more students and the experience will encourage them to stay with campus housing.
“The environment is what made it a good experience,” said student Linda Agulera. “Lots of people I know would love to live on campus but can’t afford it.”
Student Wendy Martinez also loved her time in the freshmen dorms. “The experience was worth it, but considering the room, I guess it could have been cheaper.”
“My sorority sisters always ask me how I could afford it,” continued Martinez. “And some of them wished they could live on campus too.”
Next year Martinez is looking into group renting a house to further her savings.
A common complaint is made about the mandatory meal plan that is requied to have in order ro live in Serrano Villege.
The mandatory meal plan system was begun to make sure incoming freshmen were eating properly and not risking their health to cut food bills down.But even still, some students see it as an added expense.
Agulera stated that the meal plan could be better if students had more say and more flexibility.
Living in the freshmen dorms is a great experience, and can help foster more school spirit and involvement on campus.
If students can start to see this campus as potential to be “home” with a reasonable price tag, it can and will be.