SFU plans to hike student residence rates

The university is planning to substantially increase student residence fees next year. The rate hike could see costs for the graduate building Hamilton Hall increase by 9% while other accommodations will also see a slight rise in rental prices.

The proposal comes after an analysis commissioned by the university found that its rentals are priced well below market value.

Jamie Stewart, order-in-council, notified the SFU Board of Governors of the upcoming changes at the September 28 board meeting.

A notice addressed to the board finance committee stated that the company hired to complete the analysis found rates for Hamilton Hall were nearly 50% below market value compared to other studio apartments at universities across the province.

For students in Hamilton Hall this year, the rental rate is $804 per month for a studio apartment. However, next year the cost could climb to $879 — which keeps the building at 37% below market value according to the analysis.

The other residences, including SFU’s new graduate student residences downtown, could see a 2.6–4.6% increase in rental prices. A standard dorm room with a shared kitchen and bathroom currently costs $667, but may jump to $699 in the 2018–19 academic year. All student housing also tacks on a $30 wireless Internet fee each month.

“The intention is to gradually increase rates closer to market [rates] over a number of years, to minimize the impact on students in the residence,” the notice stated.

Board members discuss pub reopening

The board members noted that the Highland Pub on the Burnaby campus will be reopened to students, staff, and faculty under the administration of the university.

SFU President Andrew Petter said the closure of the pub by the Simon Fraser Student Society earlier this year was “a really unfortunate situation” and said that there appears to be an opportunity for the university that has come out of the decision.

“It is not going to be the same as a student pub,” Petter said. “It’s going to be a licensed facility that is not only great for students, but we hope [it] becomes very much a gathering space for the whole university.”

The Peak has reported that the university intends to revitalize the pub space and potentially open it up to underaged students as well.