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MU announces new affordable housing initiative amid efforts to increase enrollment

Amid a drop in enrollment, the University of Missouri announced a new initiative Friday in an effort to make college more affordable.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said the base housing rate for more than a third of campus housing options will be reduced next year. According to the university, more than 650 double-rooms will drop 2.2 percent. Additionally, rates for 232 double rooms in Hatch Hall are dropping by 5 percent. The university said all other housing rates will remain flat.

The changes mean the cost of the most common housing/dining plans will be reduced by 3.5 percent. According to the university, students will be able to live and eat on campus for approximately $1,000 a month.

“When I was a student working my way through college, I had to be mindful of every dollar,” Cartwright said in a news release. “I understand the tremendous financial pressure our students face, and I have challenged my team to look for opportunities to enhance the value we provide, making the world-class education offered at Mizzou both accessible and affordable. That is our responsibility not only as the University of Missouri, but the University for Missouri.”

This comes as Mizzou faces a significant drop in enrollment. The current freshman class is the lowest the university has seen in at least a decade.

UM System president Mun Choi has said nothing is more important than getting enrollment numbers to increase.

One student who came to Columbia from a rural part of Southeast Missouri told ABC 17 News that initiatives like today’s mean going to Mizzou is a now a reality for people from his area.

“Where I’m from in Southeast Missouri, there aren’t many people who come up here because there’s just a stigma that it’s too expensive, that it’s not affordable for low income families,” Nathan Dare, a junior at Mizzou and speaker of congress for the Residence Halls Association, said. “Now more than ever, everything here is more affordable, everything is running smoothly.”

Chancellor Cartwright said the initiative demonstrates the university’s commitment to making college affordable.

“We’re looking at how do we make sure that everyone recognizes that they can get a college degree,” he told ABC 17 News.

Cartwright added that this own personal experience of paying for college is part of what makes affordability so important to him.

“When you’ve had to live what a lot of our students live…you recognize how hard they work to go to college and you want to do everything in your power to reduce the cost,” he said adding, “We have to pay for things, there are expenses involved but we’re going to do everything we can to be more efficient and try to provide that college experience and the college degree at a lower cost.”

When asked if he believes enrollment will increase next year, Cartwright replied, “I’m hoping it will.”

“What I’m confident in is the quality of this institution and the quality of degrees that we give. You come here, interact with our students, interact with our faculty, see this beautiful campus, you realize this is the right place for you.”

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