Over the past decade, room-and-board costs at four-year public universities have gone up roughly 25% above inflation. The bottom line is that the cost of room and board at colleges have gone up far more than the costs of living in the private economy.
College Board data show that the average cost for room and board at a four-year public institution is $9,804. Average tuition is a bit lower at $9,139 (in state). Part of the reason why room-and-board charges are up is because electricity and water costs and employee salaries have gone up.
Universities also need money to make sure the buildings are in good shape, so students don't trip on broken stairwells or get stuck in elevators.
When you have a building that was built decades ago that is still an active residence hall, obviously that takes some money to keep it moving.
Many schools require that first-years live in a dorm to help build a sense of community and encourage them to do well academically.
Many students end up migrating off campus after their first or second year for a different pace and lifestyle. But the percentage of sophomores living on campus has gone down over the years.
That decline has something to do with the growing number of properties off campus that house students.
Off campus apartments in Lynchburg, VA entice students with apartment amenities and comforts of home.
Often apartment communities are less expensive or equal too the cost of dorms, but offer the benefit of a better lifestyle.
Excertps - NPR.org