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UH Mānoa dorm prices should match their worth

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Frear Hall

Frear Hall is the most expensive, with rooms costing up to $12,879 per academic year.

I have heard so many stories about UH dorms from friends and social media that it seems unreasonable to live there. KHON2 News reported that some students started the Fall 2015 semester with no hot water in their dorm showers. 

Ilana Buffenstein, a film major residing in Frear Hall, said her suitemate had a mold problem in her room.

 “She was getting sick from it,” Buffenstein said. “Maintenance came over three times and tried to deny that it was a problem.”

Leaky ceilings, mold and neglect by housing maintenance to replace fire alarm batteries are just some of the problems facing dorm residents. Other problems include a lack of dorm security, limited parking near the dorms for residents and inconsistent Wi-Fi connection. With the number of problems continuing to add up, I wonder if the cost of living on campus is worth its convenience. The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa should lower its housing costs if students are expected to live in such conditions. 

Same price, nicer dorms

In comparison to other public universities in cities with comparable high cost-of-living, whose tuition and dorm cost is similar to UH, the dorming situation at UH Mānoa  is inferior. San Francisco State University (SFSU) estimates the cost for on-campus room and board to be $13,434 a year, which is a little more expensive than UH Mānoa’s average cost of room and board, $13,284. Based on the list of amenities featured on the SFSU website, it is clear that UH Mānoa dorms are overpriced by comparison.

SFSU’s “The Towers Jr. Suites” for first-year students offer Residential Learning Communities, including the Science and Technology Theme Community (STTC) for science majors and the Rainbow community for LGBTQ-identified individuals. The towers are an upgrade from the circular Freshman towers at UH Mānoa, which also have double occupancy rooms but do not include a private bathroom and a first-floor computer lab. 

SFSU’s other first-year residency option, the Towers Apartments, includes a kitchenette stocked with a two- burner electric stove, a sink and a refrigerator, plus a furnished living room and dining room. In addition, all student housing at SFSU has wired and wireless internet connection with study rooms and lounges, and landlines in each unit.

Why dorming is a rip off

For nearly the same price, UH Mānoa dorms do not offer nearly the same amount of amenities as SFSU. It is no secret that first-year housing at UH Mānoa or any other public university has its horror stories. However there are just too many of these stories from around campus. 

Living on campus is convenient, but is the convenience overpriced? Yes– and if UH Mānoa dorms can only offer me convenience and no other amenities, then you can expect me to never turn in an on-campus housing application until its price tag is lowered to fit its actual value.

Note: Alcuran does not dorm.