Do UB's Dorms Measure Up?
Ever since UB was rated #1 for "dorms like dungeons" by the Princeton
The Spectrum reviewed information and interviewed staff from UB's sister
This is the third piece in a three-part series examining six aspects of that report.
On-Campus Apartment-Style Housing
In recent years, building high-quality, apartment-style housing has been a key tactic in UB's attempt to attract prospective students, particularly to graduate programs. According to Joseph Krakowiak, UB's director of University Residence Halls and Apartments, few schools in the Northeast offer student apartments and the ones that do are mostly for graduate and married students.
"Apartments for upper-class undergraduates is a very new trend in higher education," said Krakowiak.
Charles Lamb, director of SUNY Binghamton's university residence halls and apartments, agreed, noting there are "very, very few campuses like Buffalo," and that UB's student apartments are some of the best in the country.
Lamb said living in the residence halls promotes diversity, an important aspect of the educational process, and having apartments on campus gives students the feeling they are "progressing from one level to another."
SUNY Binghamton has two on-campus apartment complexes, Hillside and Susquehanna Communities, which house 700 and 400 residents, respectively. Lamb said the university has not built complexes on a scale equal to UB because SUNY Binghamton is "simply smaller."
SUNY Albany recently erected its first apartment complex, Freedom Quad. Each student apartment contains four bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms, closet and storage space as well as a washer and dryer for each apartment. UAlbany, however, offers only 10-month leases at the cost of $610 a month, according to Kristi Peacock, office manager of ResLife for UAlbany.
Although its dorms may be "like palaces" as the 2001 Princeton Review survey proclaims, Bryn Mawr does not offer apartment-style housing. Residents are entirely reliant on their meal plans because the college is removing cooking burners from common areas due to fire hazards.
Lauren Hoyt, Bryn Mawr's assistant director of residential life, said the college has an agreement with neighboring Haverford College, which gives Bryn Mawr students the opportunity to live in Haverford student apartments. A corresponding number of Haverford students live in the Bryn Mawr residence halls.
"We have a very friendly relationship with [Haverford]," said Hoyt.
Housing Rates: "You Get What You Pay For."
Out of all the SUNY centers UAlbany's residence halls were the most expensive at a cost of $4,085 per semester, regardless of room occupancy. Stonybrook came in second, charging $2,780 for singles, $2,355 for doubles and $2,075 for triples per semester.
Binghamton's singles and doubles cost $2,885 and $1,900, in contrast to UB's $2,239 for singles and $1,859 for doubles.
New York University, with 20 residence halls and apartment buildings scattered throughout New York City's Greenwich Village, may not suit students on a tight budget. Doubles run for $6,854, and one- and two-bedroom suites with two to three students per room cost $8,570 per year.
For upperclassmen or graduates seeking student apartments, a two-person studio is $9,590, while a one-bedroom apartment in a two to four room suite is $12,720 per year.
At Syracuse University, singles on the north campus are more expensive at $2,585 versus south campus singles, which cost $2,165. Open doubles are $2,170 and three-person suites are $2,600.
To live in Bryn Mawr's "palace-like" residence halls, regardless of type of room or occupancy number, residents pay a flat rate of $8,590 per year.
RHA President Timothy Roberts said students are not sacrificing quality living for affordable housing rates and that life in UB's residence halls is "not as bad as people think."
"Comparably, we do have nice residence halls," he said. "What do you want for the money you spend?"