One of my favorite parts of my first year at UWM was my experience living in the residence halls. Riverview was a nice first place to live away from my mom’s house. I made memories with some fantastic people and the shuttles to class were nice since I didn’t have a car. I’m in my fourth year of school now, and I wouldn’t at all mind living in a Kenilworth Square apartment.
However, there are two things holding me back from that: my cat and the cost of living. I’m sure I could convince whoever’s in charge to let my cat be my roommate. He has a beautiful, kitten, angel face that one cannot say no to. All jokes aside, the cost of living in any one of the residence halls past your freshman year is blasphemy. If I were to have my own one-bedroom apartment in Kenilworth, I would be paying $1,035 a month. I’m sitting here looking at my pathetic, empty wallet thinking, “Yeah, most definitely not doing that.”
If you’re done with your freshman year then you’re free to go find your own place off campus, but I would love to live in a place with security, parking, shuttles, a meal plan, laundry and food access. However, I don’t get those luxuries unless I’m willing to pay a lot more to live on campus.
I’ve been blessed with my mom’s help, along with grants, loans, financial aid, scholarships and two jobs to help me live my mediocre college lifestyle. It’s one thing if you have financial help, but I have several friends from well-off families that get no money from either loans or parents. I could only imagine it being profoundly frustrating when budgeting money for tuition and books to find out housing is roughly $3,000 a semester, give or take.
It’s profoundly annoying to me that incoming freshmen are required to live in the residence halls for a year with prices ranging from $2,325 to $3,855 a semester when they could be saving money living in a house or apartment. All some students need is one semester of housing, whether it’s because they’re graduating or studying abroad for a semester.
I know a lot of landlords in Milwaukee won’t allow semester long leases and subleasing doesn’t always work out smoothly. The fact that the cheapest one semester option is a triple room in Sandburg North, South, or West for $2,325 is a real kick in the face. That’s not including laundry money, groceries, meal plans, or parking.
For the older students who need cars to get to jobs or internships, the cheapest parking option for the resident halls is $100/month in Kenilworth Square. Parking in Cambridge Commons, Riverview, or Purin is $500/semester, with Sandburg being the highest at $550/semester. Not to mention that these are limited parking spaces.
On top of all this, students don’t even get a choice if they want a meal plan or not. All students who live in suites without kitchens have to sign up for a meal plan, the cheapest option being $1,612 and the most expensive being $2,296 a semester. This is money that you can’t get back until the end of the semester. My little brother ended up getting over $900 back that he wasn’t able to spend on other essentials.
Overall, I enjoyed my freshman year living in Riverview, but I can’t stress enough how much of a rip off it is to live in one of these buildings after that. With the amount of student debt most of us are in due to tuition alone, is spending that much really worth it?