As a college student, one of the many struggles we face is where to live. Though more than 90 percent of first-year students choose to live in University Residence Halls due to convenience and the desire to get the “college experience” of living in a dorm, the university continues to overcharge its students into undesirable and unequal residence halls.
More than 2,000 students each year live in the infamous Sellery and Witte Residence Halls. Not only are these halls unsanitary and conventionally unattractive, they are in many ways unsafe. At least one of the two elevators in Sellery B Tower last year was consistently malfunctioning. Witte Residence Hall was known to have a cockroach problem last year, and the constant construction still going on often inconveniences residents.
This is not to say that all residence halls are like this: Ogg Residence Hall and Smith Residence Hall are both well-known for their large rooms with tall ceilings and walk-in closets. But the reality is these rooms fill up quickly and most students do not get to live in this kind of luxury.
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Unequal aspects aside, the University Residence Halls are extremely expensive. With the addition of a required meal plan, new students living in the residence halls are charged at minimum $9,550 for the school year, with prices ranging all the way up to $11,550. Considering the fact tuition for in-state students is around the same price, this is simply ridiculous.
The final problem with University Housing is its lack of options for students who do not want to share a bedroom with others. Though certain residence halls have single rooms, living completely alone as a first-year student is very intimidating and not something most students want. The University Apartments located in Eagle Heights and other parts of campus is for “UW-Madison graduate students, students with families, postdoctoral researchers, academic staff, and faculty,” and the university offers no kind of “suite-style” living or on-campus apartments for undergraduate students.
The absence of on-campus apartments or suite-style dorms for undergraduates is particularly disappointing when considering how many other large universities provide it. The University of Georgia offers a wide variety of apartment-style living for its undergraduate students, as well as the University of Michigan, the University of Florida and countless others.
Ultimately, the University of Wisconsin is not up to par with its peer universities regarding its residence halls’ standard of living and array of options. Considering the quality of the residence halls on campus, the rates are overpriced as well. Though living facilities are usually not the first thing on students’ minds when looking at potential colleges, it is still an important issue — one which has left many UW students disappointed.
Courtney Degen ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science and intending to major in journalism.