Students will pay more for meals and a place to stay next school year at the University of Central Arkansas if the Board of Trustees approve a plan to increase rates.

The total averaged increase — 3.2 percent for board and 2.96 percent for room — will mean students will pay about $80 more per semester for a typical plan.

At the same time, the board will consider a proposal to charge freshmen a fee ­of half the cost of a room per semester if they do not meet listed exemptions and choose to live off campus. Those students could also face "disciplinary action," according to the agenda.

Freshmen must live on campus currently, officials said previously.

The move to raise costs and further restrict freshmen to on-campus sites comes after a 2.08 percent tuition and fee increase approved last year, and a tuition and fees increase in 2011, according to university news releases. UCA also raised room and board 3 percent for 2010-2011.

The proposed room and board rate increases this year will go from $2,685 per semester based on a double-occupancy room and a total access meal plan with $50 to $2,765 for the same plan, according to the UCA agenda released Friday. That means students pay $90 more per year more for a double-occupancy room in most residence halls.

Raising the price of rooms is expected to generate about $333,000 more a year, according to UCA documents. That money is expected to go toward renovations on campus.

"These increases are primarily related to continuing effort to maintain and upgrade housing facilities," according to the agenda. "Recommended repairs to the residence halls and university-owned apartments exceed $18.1 million."

The overall condition of UCA’s facilities — the Facilities Condition Index — is at 59.8 percent, which means UCA’s facilities are aging and need updating, remodeling or repairing, according to a 2012 report from the state higher education department.

UCA has struggled to maintain and improve housing after years of neglect and financial woes. The university put about $1 million into renovation projects this past summer and plans another $1.1 million this coming summer, officials said previously. Since 2008, UCA has invested about $6.2 million in facilities, according to UCA documents.

Rick McCollum, assistant vice president of housing and contract services, did not return a message left at his office Friday afternoon.

Last month, the proposed room-and-board increase was presented to the Student Government Association, which passed a resolution of support. Officials there did not return emails sent late Friday afternoon.

In its resolution the students noted UCA officials "showed a great need for many crucial repairs and renovations to housing facilities, including apartment complexes."

The increase for meals is needed to cover a proposed 2.75 percent increase in the Aramark contract and "to further supplement food service revenue," according to the agenda.

For a total access with $50 meal plan, students will pay $70 more per year, according to UCA documents. At that rate, UCA expects to bring in about $80,000 per year.

(Staff writer Scarlet Sims can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1246. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at

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