Michigan State University students will receive free laundry services in the residence halls beginning this summer.
The motive behind MSU’s decision is to compete with private housing markets in East Lansing and keep students living in residence halls longer.
Similar to Central Michigan University, MSU students can currently choose to pay for their laundry with a money card, the equivalent of CMU’s FLEX dollars, which is money loaded onto students’ ID cards. Students at both schools also have the option of paying in cash.
Executive Director of Campus Life and Student Affairs Shaun Holtgreive said the way CMU provides its laundry services will be more cost efficient in the long run than providing the service for free.
“One of the problems with the way Michigan State (provides laundry services) is they are going to have to find a way to generate enough revenue to pay for that service,” Holtgreive said. “At CMU, you only pay for what you use.”
Both CMU and MSU currently charge $2.50 per load of laundry.
Holtgreive said CMU generates about $170,000 per year in revenue from laundry. This money is used to fund various programs, including hall council and the Residence Hall Adviser programs, as well as other facility needs.
According to a Monday Detroit Free Press report, MSU estimates students spent more than $1.3 million on laundry in 2012.
Holtgreive said one way MSU might have to compensate providing the free laundry service is by increasing the price of room and board.
Students at MSU currently pay $8,526 for a standard room and meal plan, according to the MSU room and board rates website. In comparison, CMU students pay $8,036 for a standard room and a meal plan that offers 14 meals per week.
For Illinois freshman Bryan Sleik, a free laundry service wouldn’t be enough to convince him to live in the residence halls for an extra year. He said laundry prices are not important enough when deciding whether to continue living on campus.
“Paying the small cost (for laundry) really isn’t a big hassle for me. I just budget my FLEX dollars, so I have enough,” he said.
Holtgreive agrees laundry isn’t a determining factor for students deciding if they wish to remain in the residence halls.
“We do not believe people make decisions based on the cost of laundry,” Holtgreive said.
The price of laundry is determined by the amount of commission CMU needs to pay its laundry vendor. According to Holtgreive, the price at CMU has not increased in four years.