The University of Maryland RHA voted Tuesday to advance a proposal that would increase the cost of student meal plans and standard rooms for the 2024-2025 academic year.
If the changes are approved by the University System’s Board of Regents, students would pay an additional $104.50 for meal plans and an additional $333 for dorms during the 2025 fiscal year.
The 3.59 percent proposed increase for meal plan costs would help cover cost increases in maintenance, utility, cost of food and employee salary, according to Dining Services’ interim director Joe Mullineaux, who proposed the increase.
With the increase, student workers in dining halls would be paid $15.49 per hour.
Michelle Ameyaw, an RHA senator and sophomore neurobiology and physiology major supported the increased dining fees. She said Dining Services’ efforts to maximize services while considering cost are “impressive.”
“Dining Services has been doing a lot of really hard work to give us the quality food that we have,” Ameyaw said.
The Department of Resident Facilities and Resident Life proposed a 3.61 percent increase in the price of standard dorm rooms to cover insurance, utilities and maintenance and keep up with increases to the cost of living.
“Our goal across all of our departments is to do everything we can to keep our fees and fee increases as low as possible,” Resident Life director Dennis Passarella-George told RHA senators at Tuesday’s meeting.
The proposed increases are not yet final, according to RHA president and junior government and politics major Erika Holdren. They will fall to a committee made up of presidents from RHA, SGA and GSG, which will approve the proposals during a cabinet meeting with university president Darryll Pines, said RHA student fee coordinator Eric Bennett.
The proposals are also subject to further approval from this university’s Board of Regents, Bennett, a sophomore Chinese and computer science major, said.
The resolution to increase meal plan costs passed 22-1 with two abstentions. The resolution to increase dorm room costs passed 24-0 with one abstention.
Anya Olson, a freshman environmental science and technology major and an RHA senator for the North Hill Area Council, supported the increased fees for dorms. The increase would help address utility concerns such as air conditioning, Olson said.
“Our constituents are like ‘when will there ever be AC in our buildings’ and ‘why is the water out again?’” Olson said. “These things can only be fixed with this sort of dedicated increase.”
RHA senators rejected another proposal to increase transportation fees for students by 16.4 percent. It would have required students to pay $44 more.
David Allen, the executive director of this university’s Department of Transportation Services, brought the rejected proposal. Bennett called the proposal the “highest percent increase proposed for student fees in the last 10 years.”
“I really sympathize with all the problems that the DOTS department is having right now,” Bennett said. “That cost is falling on students to pay.”