When UF honors student Silvio Martinez arrived at school this Fall, he knew Hume Hall would be his home for freshman year.
"It’s just a good opportunity at Hume to find a fit on campus," the 18-year-old said.
The student community encourages social interaction and group study sessions, he said. That, along with the suite-style bathrooms, helped him acclimate to campus.
But the biomedical engineering student said he won’t be able to afford Hume next year and will move off campus.
This year, dorm rates are higher than in previous years due to operational costs, wrote Sharon Blansett, the assistant to the associate vice president for Student Affairs at the Department of Housing and Residence Education, in an email.
For this fiscal year, there was a 36.18-percent increase in utility rates, which are standardized for each dorm, she said.
Part of the increase in cost is also due to full-time staff salary increases, Blansett said. In addition, the maintenance supplies and continued renovations increased by $800,000 this year.
"Staff work hard to keep the rental rates as low as possible," Blansett said.
With the increases, students like public relations freshman Aubrey Hoffman are choosing to live off campus.
The 18-year-old lives in Windsor Hall, a dorm-style apartment near Sorority Row on Southwest Ninth Street.
Equipped with a kitchenette and full-sized fridge, Hoffman said there’s more room than a traditional dorm. Hoffman said she stayed in Beaty Towers as a high school junior for the College of Journalism and Communications Summer Institute, so she "kind of know(s) what it was like living in campus dorms," she said. "And (I) felt like they were so small."
She said her apartment is more homey and gives students more for their money.
Nora Kilroy, director of Off-Campus Life at UF, said students aren’t flocking to live off campus — they choose the best living situation for them.
"There’s a range of prices (for both on- and off-campus housing) that are comparable and competitive," Kilroy said.
UF journalism sophomore Lauren Janata decided to stay on campus this year. She said the proximity of her suite-style dorm in UF’s new Cypress Hall to her classes outweighed the lower price of some off-campus living options.
"I just like being close to campus and not having to scooter in or drive in," the 19-year-old said. She said she also likes on-campus living’s student-centered atmosphere.
"You’re more a part of something," Janata said. "Everyone who lives here goes to school here. You get to meet everyone."
Generally, dorm fees increase 3 to 5 percent each year, said Sharon Blansett, the assistant to the associate vice president for Student Affairs at the Department of Housing and Education.
Single undergraduate student rate increases: 3.5%
Increases from ‘14-’15 school year to ‘15-’16 years:
Murphree: $100 increase
Hume: $121 increase
Jennings: $90 increase