Anne Liners, Staff Writer
One of Augsburg’s most celebrated promises is its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity through an extensive student support network. While our school has done a great deal to increase access to higher education, the significant issue of cost still remains. A particularly concerning component of this obstacle is the financial demand of on-campus living.
Let us first consider Luther Hall, one of the pricier and more popular on-campus living options. Apartments in Luther Hall range in floorplans and roommate configurations, and the price ranges from $3,955 to $5,669 per semester. In all, Luther apartments average $4,510 per semester, about $1,128 for each of four months.
Outside of Augsburg, $1000/month goes a lot further. In two buildings just across Interstate 94, two-bedroom apartments are available for $1,600 and $1,200 per month, respectively. Entire houses, usually with 2 or 3 bedrooms, can be rented in Dinkytown or Como Park for $1,500-$1,800/month. Even apartment buildings self-named ‘luxury’ rent studios usually for less than $1,500/month. Even compared to the notoriously inflated Minneapolis housing market, $1000/month for a shared bedroom in Luther Hall starts to feel ridiculous.
If you’re wondering why anyone would choose these expensive Luther apartments, look to the meal plan requirement. All residents of Urness, Mortensen, and Anderson halls are required to purchase a meal plan, which range from $2,045 to $2,498 per semester. It is worth noting here that all of these housing situations include kitchen spaces, and that the cheapest meal plan options are not intended to cover all of a person’s meals. After adding a meal plan, the cheapest housing options outside of Urness Hall (2 Bedroom/4 Person Mortenson apartments or Anderson town- or floorhouses) jump from $3,095 to $5,140/semester, about $1,285/month. Somehow, the cheapest on-campus housing option becomes more expensive than the most expensive.
What makes living on campus so much more expensive than off campus options? Where is the $12,000 that Residence Life is receiving from me and my two roommates this semester alone going? And, most importantly, with everything we know about the many benefits of living on campus, why hasn’t the school gone further to make this essential resource accessible to the many students who can’t afford such exorbitant rates?
This article was originally published in the September 20, 2019 issue.