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Last fall, 56 percent of all students and 68 percent of low-income student respondents to SGA’s Desserts After Dark survey reported that they felt the cost of laundry using Barnard machines was “prohibitive to [their] budget.”

Barnard will offer unlimited laundry service access for all students in Barnard residence halls beginning fall 2019, Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldberg announced at a Student Government Association meeting on Monday.

The announcement comes after efforts by SGA to provide subsidized laundry cards to low-income students, which were rendered obsolete after Barnard changed laundry service providers last year.

Last fall, 56 percent of all students and 68 percent of low-income student respondents to SGA’s Desserts After Dark survey reported that they felt the cost of laundry using Barnard machines was “prohibitive to [their] budget.” Columbia began offering free laundry in all residence halls in 2015.

According to Goldberg, the cost of the unlimited laundry services will be included as part of Barnard housing fees. Currently, Barnard students in all residence halls must pay $2.50 per load of laundry to wash and dry.

Goldberg also announced an increase in Barnard’s tuition and fees for the coming year following the previous year’s 4.5% increase, to be announced in an email later this week. Barnard is heavily dependent on tuition, with 80% of its operating revenue coming from tuition and fees. As such, any increase to the college’s operating budget necessitates continual increase to tuition and fees.

601 W 110 St., which uses a different laundry provider from all other Barnard residence halls, will also be covered under the new policy, likely through subsidized laundry cards. Due to ongoing lease negotiations, fewer singles and doubles in 601 were made available in the Barnard housing lottery this year.

“We have to continue to consider [what to do] about out-of-pocket expenses for students. We’re starting with laundry, we know we have other challenges and we’re looking at those things. But this was a big win,” Goldberg said.

Incoming Representative for Campus Affairs Emily Ndiokho, BC ’22, and Representative for Arts and Culture Phanesia Pharel, BC ’21, asked administrators about Barnard’s plans to prioritize textbook affordability, following Columbia College Student Council’s proposal of a $600 textbook voucher for all students.

Barnard has no immediate plans to enact their own textbook voucher program, according to Goldberg and Vice President for Finance Eileen DiBenedetto, but the college is considering ways to alleviate the cost of textbooks, as well as additional classroom expenses.

“The principle is no student should have to pick and choose their courses based on what textbooks they can and can’t afford,” Goldberg said.

Editor’s note: Emily Ndiokho is a Sales Manager for Spectator’s Revenue team. She has no personal connection to the writers of this piece.

Staff writer Heather Loepere can be contacted at heather.loepere@columbiaspectator.com. Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Barnard Student Government Association Rob Goldberg Laundry
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