ISU Department of Residence talks post-checkout charges

If ISU students do not properly check out of their residence halls, their U-Bill will be charged various fees imposed by the Department of Residence.

Students have been checking out for the past two weeks.

Lisa Ludovico, program coordinator of residence halls, is familiar with the checkout procedures.

“When students properly check out, they contact their C.A. [community adviser] and meet with them for a checkout appointment. The C.A. goes through the room with them and says the things that could be improved upon prior to their departure, and the student has the opportunity to rectify those,” Ludovico said.

She said that only those students who don’t follow through with what they’re asked to do as part of the checkout process will be charged. Leaving their belongings in drawers by accident and forgetting to vacuum the carpets are some of the things that contribute to the charges.

She said some students just leave throughout the course of the semester and don’t actually checkout, therefore they’re also charged.

“I would say that in about 9,000 students who live on campus throughout the year, less than 5 percent of them receive any type of charges,” Ludovico said.

Ludovico also said that students always have the opportunity to checkout with a C.A., and know everything they will be charged for before they leave, unless they don’t meet with a C.A. or Department of Residence staff member.

In that case, staff members go to the room after the students have left to verify its condition, compare it to the check-in condition and the hall directors finally determine the respective charges.

“Even in Frederiksen Court, if students choose not to meet with staff members to check out, they’re given a list prior to their departure that says all the things that they need to do to avoid charges, like clean up the sink, vacuum the carpet and reassemble furniture,” Ludovico said.

She said students sometimes ask how much they will be charged, and depending on the amount, they choose to do the corresponding cleaning process or not.

“Charges are based on the severity of the condition in which students left their room,” Ludovico said.

Nonetheless, Ludovico doesn’t recommend students who reside in halls with private bathrooms, such as Buchanan Hall, Martin Hall, Eaton Hall and SUV, to wait until the end of the year to begin cleaning their bathrooms.

“You should be cleaning it all throughout the year both for your own sanity as well as to make it easier for you to clean upon checkout,” Ludovico said.

“Additionally, when you’re packing up your belongings to go home, if you’re leaving Friday, don’t start packing and cleaning Thursday. Start a week ahead of time, make an appointment and think ahead and always follow the appropriate checkout procedure.”

Ludovico said there is an appeals process for students who don’t think they should have been charged.

“Students who check out through the normal process are eligible to appeal. Students who check out improperly can appeal, but we may be less lenient with them. The fact that they check out improperly doesn’t help their case,” Ludovico said.

David Woodbury, sophomore in environmental science, lived in Birch Hall during the 2009-2010 school year. He regrets waiting until the last minute to pack up his belongings, which caused the delay of his scheduled checkout time on Saturday after finals week.

“I felt that I got everything covered up, but I had to pull an all-nighter on Friday, cleaning up and getting everything ready,” Woodbury said. “I ended up checking out 15 minutes late.”

Woodbury said he left his dorm room in good condition when he checked out and his C.A. didn’t mention anything about getting charged for checking out late.

The C.A. said he would be “surprised if he [Woodbury] got charged,” and also advised students to pack ahead of time so they can avoid checking out later than they’re supposed to, which could contribute to the charge of fees on their U-bill.

Mary-Beth Golemo, Frederiksen Court program coordinator, said every student residing in that area receives a five-page package via e-mail with information on the checkout procedures, as well as a cleaning checklist detailing what specifically needs to be clean.

“We started announcing the checkout dates in January. We sent out an e-mail to everyone at least twice so that they know ahead of time. There are deadlines to sign up to check out,” Golemo said.

She said if students choose not to clean, there’s a list of what the charges will be.

“In Frederiksen, it’s a matter of roommate communication. Talk to your roommate, even if you’re not best friends. Sit down and decide what you’re going to clean and divide that equally among you,” Golemo said.

“We really stress planning ahead and having that roommate communication and not waiting until everybody is so stressed out during finals week to have the first conversation about it, so that when it’s time to move out, they’re not trying to clean for the first time,” Golemo said.