Drake University students received an email from President Marty Martin on Feb. 4, informing them that the room and board fees for the 2021-2022 school year will be raised by 1.2 percent, making the fee $70 more than last year.
Some students met this news with criticism.
“I don’t understand why they need to raise prices,” said first-year student Cierra Krauss. “We already give them $50,000 a year, why do they need more?”
Associate Dean of Students Jerry Parker says increases like this are normal given the economic circumstances.
“Just as we see costs rise within our own households, so too does that occur within colleges and universities,” Parker said.
Parker, as well as the rest of the university, has recognized how this can come as a shock to some students. However, Parker points out that increases are normal.
“This is one of the lowest room and board increases in the last 20 years at Drake.”
Krauss feels that just isn’t enough, considering students are required to live on campus for at least two years before being able to live off-campus.
“If I can’t leave campus next year, I’ll probably have to drop out,” Krauss said. “I can’t afford it, and I had to take out a private loan for this year and I won’t do that again, the interest rates are terrible.”
For students like Krauss, Parker said Drake is willing to work with them to figure out the best way to handle this. This week, one such way was a stimulus check given to students in financial need provided by the university.
The amount depends on how much financial need the student demonstrates. Krauss said she still has yet to receive hers.
“Our office of Student Financial Planning works with students to build their financial aid packages to account for room and board,” Parker said. “When we learn of specific student hardships, the university will work directly with the student to discuss potential financial aid options which can be a variation of scholarships, loans, and/or emergency assistance.”
Parker said he recognized how hard price increases can be for students, especially with the current pandemic going on.
“As an administration, we are very aware of how the pandemic has caused many students and their families various financial hardships,” Parker said.
Parker also pointed out that while room and board will be increasing, tuition will remain the same for students throughout their four years at Drake University.
“It is a testament to the University’s extreme diligence and commitment to fiscal responsibility that allows us to keep these costs near to where they were for our students this year,” Parker said.
Students in need of financial assistance can contact the Financial Planning Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 515-271-2905.