The Cost Of Student Housing; Hepatitis A Outbreak; New EpiPen Law; Selling Beer At College Sporting Events

August 21, 2019
 

Killivalavan Solai/Wikimedia Commons

Students have been paying more and more for room and board—and that cost often gets left out of conversations about lowering tuition and debt. Plus, what's behind an uptick in Hepatitis A cases in Illinois. We also talk with the lawmaker behind Illinois's new requirement that insurers cover EpiPens, and learn why colleges are turning to alcohol sales as one strategy to boost attendance at sporting events.

Even when tuition is covered or highly subsidized, there’s still another huge cost to attending a university: the cost of actually living on, or near campus. The estimated price of on- and off-campus room and board at public universities climbed more than 82%, adjusted for inflation, between 1989 and 2017. That’s according to numbers from the College Board.

Ali Breland recently wrote about student housing costs for Bloomberg Businessweek. His article is called “If The Cost of Tuition Doesn’t Get You, The Cost of Student Housing Will.”  We also speak with Andy Netzer, general manager and managing broker at Young America Realty, the largest student landlord in Normal, and Kristin Blagg, a research associate in the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute, which has researched the cost of student housing. 

We also hear from a student: Samiat Solebo, a junior majoring in political science and president of the Student Government Association at Illinois State.

Plus - 

Late last year, the Illinois Department of Public Health declared a statewide outbreak of Hepatitis A. It’s a disease that’s preventable through a vaccine. And from 2006 to 2014, the number of cases dropped by more than half according to the CDC. 

But in the last few years, that number has been creeping back up - including here in Illinois. In the last 12 months there have been 150 cases throughout the state, according to the latest numbers from the state. 

And it turns out McLean County has the third most number of cases of any county in the whole state.

Melissa Graven is the communiable disease supervisor for the McLean County Health Department.

And - 

Millions of Americans rely on auto injectors that deliver epinephrine, usually to stave off reactions to life-threatening allergies. These are of course better known as Epipens.

But they’ve gotten more and more expensive over the years. A pair of injectors that cost $100 in 2009 - without insurance - went for as much as $600 by 2016.

Earlier this month Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill that requires health insurers to cover epipens for patients 18 and younger. The law takes effect Jan. 1 and it will make Illinois the first state in the nation to have this kind of requirement.

Representative Jonathan Carroll was the lawmaker who first brought this bill to the floor. He’s a Democrat from Illinois’ 57th House district, which includes some of Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs. He joins us now from Northbrook.

Then - 

Fewer people are actually going to college football games - and college sporting events more generally. Average attendance is actually the lowest it’s been in 22 years.

Attendance is one reason that the U of I and Illinois State University - along with more and more schools across the country - are going to start allowing beer and wine sales at athletic events.

Cheryl Raye Stout is a sports contributor for WBEZ Chicago. She joins me now on the line from Chicago. And Matt Blaszka is an assistant professor of sports management at Indiana State University.