To some, a quarter is only used to buy a colorful gumball that offers a few seconds of flavor. However, to college students with piles of dirty laundry, a quarter is equivalent to gold.
The price to wash clothes on campus has recently been increased from 75 cents to $1.
Lynette Brooker, director of budget and payroll, said the decision to increase the price of the washing machines on campus was not made quickly. The research process began two years ago, a proposal was written, evaluated and then sent off for approval.
“Two years ago (the administration) inquired about the last time we had changed the prices in the laundry rooms,” Brooker said. “We were looking at the fact that they needed to be increased, but before we blindly increased them, (the administration) wanted some research done.”
According to Brooker, it had been at least 10 years since the prices had last been assessed. She was appointed head of the research team and set out to gather information from the surrounding areas.
“I went to two other laundry facilities here in town … just to see what current prices were,” Brooker said. “(Harding was) at 75 cents to wash and 75 cents to dry for an hour — so basically $1.50 to do a load of laundry. When we did our research, we found that we were charging at least half of what everyone else was charging.”
Using the findings from the research, the decision was made to raise the cost of the washing machines by a quarter, bringing it to a total of $1 to wash one load of laundry. According to Brooker, the current prices were outdated and needed to be refreshed. Brooker said all the money collected from the laundry rooms helps to offset the maintenance of machines, the operation of the laundry facilities and the purchase of new machines when needed.
Returning students who frequently use the laundry facilities are less than thrilled about having to shell out more money for clean clothes.
“A quarter is still a lot,” sophomore Brittney Smyser said. “It’s a dollar a load, and if you have to do three loads of laundry that’s three dollars just to wash your clothes. I have a friend who goes to a state school, and there are washers in their dorms and they don’t have to pay for laundry because it goes with their housing.”
Smyser said that in an attempt to save money, she will be pickier with how often she washes her clothes.
Freshman Linley Piechocki said she was not surprised by the price, and that she will not be changing her normal laundry habits.
“I was expecting it to be a dollar, honestly,” Piechocki said. “It could be cheaper, but it’s not going to keep me from doing laundry. I mean, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.”
While the decision to change the price was not hasty, several students said they were surprised the first time they walked into the laundry room. Smyser said she wished there had been better communication.
Brooker said the new plan is to evaluate the prices every two years and make adjustments accordingly. She also said they will make sure to keep the student body informed of any price changes in the future.