FAU Board of Trustees approves plan to increase 2015-2016 housing rates, despite opposition from Student Government

The Board of Trustees approved a plan to increase housing prices for 2015-2016 based upon recommendations from Capstone On-Campus Management


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FAU’s Board of Trustees met today to discuss plans to increase student housing rates for the 2015-2016 school year. The plan was approved by a 7 to 5 vote around 11:30 this morning.

The “no” votes included Student Body President Michael Cepeda and trustees Jeffrey Feingold, Paul Tanner, Robert Stilley and Daniel Cane. Cepeda is the first student body president to vote against a BOT housing rate increase.

Cepeda issued the following statement to the University Press:

“I’m proud of the efforts made by my team in Student Government. We advocated for the student’s best interest. I want to thank the trustees that voted against the increase and supported the student body. Living on campus is a great experience; however it’s unfortunate that not too many students will be able to have this experience without additional loans to cover the expensive costs of living on campus. We will continue to fight for what’s best for the student body and keep that our number one goal as always. Go owls!”

Opposition from student government cited results of a recent survey of 742 students from Boca and Jupiter campuses living on and off campus. The general consensus was that while students do appreciate and enjoy the experience of living on campus, price is still a major deterrent from returning next semester.


With the exception of a 10 percent increase for Algonquin Hall, the rate increases range from 1.4 percent to 6.3 percent. This increase in housing rates is projected to bring in $1.84 million in additional revenue, contingent upon achieving and maintaining a 90 percent occupancy rate, a number which Capstone reports is currently at 86.6 percent, decreasing from 91.8 percent just two years ago.

Courtesy of Capstone On-campus  Management
Courtesy of Capstone On-campus Management


The new pricing strategy keeps in line with previous rate increases which have ranged from between five and six percent for single rooms in 2012 – 2013 and increases of three percent for single rooms and six percent for double rooms in 2011 – 2012. (source)

But proposed changes to housing contracts don’t end with rate increases.

The nine point strategy, recommended by Capstone On-Campus Management, includes eliminating the $300 housing deposit in favor of a non-refundable $100 administrative processing fee and repurposing of housing such as converting  UVA studio doubles into singles, repurposing IRT to serve as housing for first and second-year students, and eliminating the housing buy out option.

Despite strong opposition from SG President Cepeda and trustees Tanner and Stilley, the majority of the board members, including swing-vote chair Anthony Barbar were swayed by Capstone VP Doug Brown’s presentation, citing FAU’s occupancy and rental rates in comparison with seven other like-sized public universities including FIU, FSU, FGCU, UF, UNF, UCF and USF.

Courtesy of Capstone On-campus  Management
Courtesy of Capstone On-campus Management

This led BOT members such as David Feder to conclude “we are priced where we should be,” stating that FAU’s rates are competitively priced and can stand to be increased.

Feder, who is president of both the Palm Beach County Hotel and Motel Association and the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council, cites his experience working with hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton saying “they’re always going to say you’re too expensive, but they keep coming back.”

However, Director of Government relations Patrick Gober counters that FAU students, unlike guests of the Ritz-Carlton, are required to sign lease contracts for their first two years of enrollment.

The university is also facing increased competition for occupancy from additional off campus housing facilities such as University Park, expected to open in summer 2015.

While Gober admits SG opposition faced down a heavy defeat today, he says he was encouraged by the number of opposing votes cast, as the BOT typically votes unanimously.

House Parliamentarian Casey Martin, anticipates SG will respond to the rate increase via opposition through new legislation and house resolutions.

SG’s next house meeting is scheduled for Friday, November 21  at 3 p.m. in the House Chambers.

The BOT’s next committee meeting is scheduled for December 9th.