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New rents in the graduate dormitories seem to be based on "what the market will bear" rather than the lowest amount that will keep the halls self-sustaining, the Graduate Student Council charged yesterday.
Substantial reductions in the new rents-which will average slightly over $280 per man per year-were urged by the Council. The group said that the new Graduate, Center is not cutting the students' cost of living as was planned, and that the University is "capitalizing on the housing situation at every opportunity."
Richard E. Kronauer 3G, president of the Council, attacked the rise in rents in the old graduate dormitories from a yearly average of $252 to $286 in 1950-51. Its group added that average dorm rates were as high as typical rooming house rates.
Dean Denies Charges
In reply, Dean Rogers of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciencer said that the new rents in the graduate halls are as low as the University can make them.
Members of the committee that drew up the new rates said yesterday that they averaged lower than those in either the Yard or Houses, or at the Business School. Arthur D. Trottenberg '48, an assistant to vice-President Reynolds, added that the rents were far lower than those in the new M.I.T. graduate dorms, the closest comparable housing project.
Trottenberg said that the prices were based directly on the estimated cost of operation of graduate halls as a whole. The University is only charging, he said, for what is needed to maintain the halls, meet depreciation, and handle possible emergencies.
Basic Expenses Remain
The new dorms were built, Trottenberg said, with attention paid to inexpensive maintenance, but he pointed out that there are basic expenses, such as maid services, which always make dorm rates high. In setting prices, the University cannot separate, he said, operational expenses of the old and new graduate halls. Therefore, the rates of the two types are integrated.
Trottenberg said that average prices of graduate dorms were about $30 below those of rooming house average.
If the alumni drives to pay for new dorms are not successful, any possible excess from rent revenues could go to paying some of the building costs.
Men in the graduate halls, Trottenberg said, get far better suites for their money than students in rooming houses at comparable prices. Besides the closer contact with other students (which the Council recognizes), the University is providing extensive common room facilities.
The reason for the change upward of the rents in the old dorms is that they have not been in line with costs, Trottenberg said. No allowance has been made for depreciation and the replacement of furniture, he said, and as a result the halls have fallen into poor condition.
Maintenance Costs Not Same
Outside rooming houses, George Minkin '41, assistant dean of the Law School, observed, make little allowances for depreciation and maintenance so that there will always be rooms at prices below dorm rents. However, the University, he said, must always supply decent living quarters.
If the University offers some rooms at lower prices as the Council wants, Minkin said, it will have to raise an equal number of rents. This would require some students to subsidize others. He concluded that these "hidden scholarships" would not be fair to the graduate students.
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