Two percent rent increase next year

Housing officials have lowered rent increases for next year to 2 percent from the originally proposed 3 percent.

Housing officials have lowered rent increases for next year to 2 percent from the originally proposed 3 percent.

John Eckman, chief housing officer at PSU, said that not all of the residence halls will increase their rent, although there is an overall increase of 2.03 percent across campus. The Oregon University System must now approve the 2 percent rent increase.

Rent costs will be included in the same bill as tuition and student fees starting next year. Rent and tuition and fees will also be charged at term beginning next year.

The PSU University Housing Office assumed control of all student resident affairs when the contract with College Housing Northwest ended March 1. Students are now responsible for paying their rent to PSU directly and can do so at the cashiers’ windows in Neuberger Hall.

The University Housing Office sent out a notice to all housing units two months before the changeover and College Housing Northwest sent residents another notice in the weeks leading up to the shift. Housing services manager Mary Cloos said that these fliers were helpful in preparing students for the changes.

“Students have responded to the shift pretty well so far,” Cloos said. “It’s been a pretty smooth transition.”

Cloos said that housing contracts will be month-to-month through summer term and that the current rates for all units will remain the same.

“It’s easier to make changes just once a year at the start of fall rather than summer,” Cloos said.

Lisa Whedon, the cashier supervisor, said that the volume of students coming through Neuberger Hall to pay their bill during April has been heavy due to housing and tuition payments. She said that she expects the cashiers’ windows to see a more pronounced increase in students who pay in person for the months of May and June.

Student residents can also pay their rent by mailing a check to accounts receivable or via the online registration system Banweb. There is a $2 charge to use Banweb’s online credit card payment method.

The deadline for spring tuition is Tuesday, April 10. The deadline for April rent payments is the same day.

John Eckman, associate director of auxiliary services and chief housing officer, said he anticipates an increase of students seeking housing next fall, with an expected number of more than 1,900 students living on campus, up from 1,600 this year.

“It’s a complex model that changes by building,” Eckman said. “There’s no definitive increase or decrease across campus.”

The First Year Experience-a program that works to connect freshmen to Portland State through activities and peers-will decrease by just over 2 percent for Ondine residents. The FYE program cost will remain the same for Broadway residents next year.

The costs for other apartments will be measured by bed rather than by room, meaning that a single resident will pay 150 percent of what two roommates pay. For example, the cost of a Broadway unit will be $1,841 per term for a single resident and $1,228 for each of two roommates, totaling $2,456 in costs for that room per term.

Therefore, the same apartment will cost $1,841 with one person while it will cost $2,456 with two people.

Eckman said that there is a new online application that students seeking university housing can use to check for and secure an on-campus unit. He said that this will benefit students seeking housing from out of state or internationally.

Eckman said that students are guaranteed to be eligible for housing as long as they are in good academic standing and are current with their university account balance. In previous years, students could have holds placed on their accounts if they had not paid their rent to College Housing Northwest.

Bursar Scott Petersen, who heads the Business Affairs Office, said that PSU is using new software, called StarRes, to manage billing information. He said that the old software was archaic and had some technical difficulties, and that StarRes has been much more effective so far.

“It’s pretty widely used, so there’s plenty of support available and we expect to continue using it in the years to come,” Petersen said.

Students who receive financial aid had their March and April rent deducted automatically from their university accounts. Broadway resident Luke Raymond said he was a bit surprised to find an unknown $1,300 for rent using his spring financial aid, though University Housing cleared up the confusion easily.

“I went into panic mode when I first saw it, but now I see that it’s actually easier this way,” Raymond said.