In preparation for the upcoming return to campus, Southern administration announced that students can expect to see reduced prices for dorm accommodations and meal plans for the Fall 2020 semester.
According to Senior Vice President for Financial Administration Tom Verrill, room and board in Talge, Thatcher and Thatcher South halls will cost $1,915, and housing in Southern Village will cost $2,080. Bronze, silver and gold dorm meal plans will cost $1,075, $1,275 and $1,475 respectively. Maximum refunds for each plan will be set at $50, $250 and $450, respectively. These prices will only apply to the 2020 fall semester and will revert back to their original prices for the winter 2021 semester.
In regards to graduating students and those who may need to stay in the residence halls and Southern Village past Thanksgiving to the end of December, Verrill said the reduced prices will also apply without extra charge. However, it will not apply to those staying in other university housing accommodations such as Spalding Cove or Winding Creek apartments. According to Verrill, these students will also be able to use their meal plan funds to the extent of their balance.
“We thought [reducing prices] was the right thing to do,” Verrill said. “We are aware of many colleges and universities who are ending the semester early as we are but are not reducing the room and board costs. This is because they still have costs of providing these services to students that they need to cover whether or not the students are on campus. We felt, on the other hand, that if students are not on campus for a certain number of weeks when they normally would be, that we should not charge them for these weeks.”
According to Verrill, the President’s Cabinet made the decision to reduce dorm rent and meal plan prices because they are the items most directly affected by students not being on campus. The prices for other items such as tuition and general fees will remain the same because they cover expenses and services that Southern will provide to students throughout the full semester.
Junior nursing major Issac Abraham said that he understands the importance of the reduction, as they are costs that are essential to students.
“I feel like reductions in rent and meal plan are both justified and reasonable,” Abraham said. “The dorms and meal plan do have a cost that we as students need to pay; and a reduction in price, based on how long we use it, is justified in itself.”
Junior public relations and graphic design major Camryn Clark also agrees and says it is fair for Southern’s administration to adjust the meal plan and dorm prices.
“The price adjustments are appropriate for the shortened semester,” Clark said. “It would be unfair to charge students room and board for a time period in which they aren’t even on campus. I’m nervous for what it means for Southern’s bottom line. But as a student, I am relieved.”