Drake President Marty Martin announced a 2.5 percent increase in room and board costs for the 2022-2023 year through a university-wide email on Feb. 10.
Martin wrote that the rise in room and board rates was recently approved by the Drake University Board of Trustees, a 36-member group that makes decisions by majority vote. The increase brings the cost per semester for a double, triple, or quad dorm room up to $3,157 for the 2022-2023 year. That’s an increase of $77 from this year’s $3,080.
The increase also brings the 175-block, $650 flex residential meal plan to $2,628 per semester in comparison to last year’s $2,564. Students who use this meal plan and pay for a double, triple or quad room will pay an additional $141 each semester next year.
According to Financial Aid Director Ryan Zantingh, Drake creates Cost of Attendance budgets each year, and increased costs like room and board fees can result in higher calculated financial need, which may increase eligibility for needs-based awards like federal direct subsidized loans. If the COA budget increases, Zantingh explained over email, students can borrow more money. He said that the 2022-2023 COA will make full-time, on-campus students eligible to borrow $282 more than the previous year’s COA.
Some first-year students were worried by the increase, with first-year Charlie Schwabb pointing towards her already strenuous financial outlook for the 2022-2023 academic year.
“I come from a pretty poor family, I’ve eaten from food shelves before, and I’m worried I wont be able to pay for college. Even with just a slight increase. I’m already barely getting by as is,” Schwabb said.
First-year Jack Geppart is also facing financial strain.
“With my parents helping pay for my schooling, this increase pushes the cost just about to the limit of what they can cover,” Geppart said.
Drake University Chief Student Affairs Officer Jerry Parker explained that the University uses the Higher Education Price Index, published by Commonfund, an American-based asset management firm, as a primary basis for these decisions.
“The University looks at the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) that is calculated and published by Commonfund, which puts out forecasts each quarter,” Parker said in an email. “Their most recent forecast for HEPI for 2021 is an increase of 2.7%.”
Parker went on to say in the email that the University’s goal is to keep costs in line through efficient spending practices, but as costs rise at the hands of inflation, pricing must rise to cover costs. He also took note of the impact price increases like these can have on students.
“We do not take these increases in rates lightly as we know the impact on students,” Parker said in the email. “Inflation is having an impact well beyond Drake, and it is something we all are trying to navigate while being conscientious of the impacts it has on our students and their families.”