Grace Sun / The Highlander

Being a college student is stressful enough with the many sacrifices people must undertake in order to succeed and finish their degree. Housing insecurity during a student’s higher education should not be a large concern, but for most students attending college in California, it is. The economy, combined with California’s housing shortage, has led to students being unable to secure affordable housing near their campus. In the worst cases, some have to sleep in their cars. The University of California system is such a large and wealthy institution that there is no reason for their students to be denied on-campus or affordable housing at the rate they are.  

While the UC system has tried to increase the amount of dorms and apartments on their campuses in recent years, there is still not enough housing for all of the students wishing to attend these schools. Rooms in these buildings fill up quickly with the majority of students never making it off of the waiting lists. And although the simple solution is to build more housing, this is easier said than done. 

The communities surrounding these colleges often oppose and block the construction of more student housing wanting to keep out undesirable neighbors and new construction. This prejudice against college students only perpetuates the issue. The surrounding communities and the universities, however, should work together to improve relations by regarding each other’s needs and concerns. There are landlords willing to work with college students to give them an affordable rent price. Not all students are loud, unruly tenants. 

In California, many of the campuses are in already developed locations and new buildings are not feasible. This September, Governor Gavin Newsom signed senate Bill 886, exempting student housing projects built on land owned by UC, CSU or community colleges from the California Environmental Quality Act. While this will prevent new projects from being blocked, it is using previously environmentally protected land. This is not a solution, as the environment takes the burden of this problem.

Another solution would be if The UC considers admitting less students or providing more hybrid options. During the pandemic, online courses were beneficial to students as they could attend class from home without having to spend more money on gas commuting or rent through living on campus. At this time, more students were also admitted thus expanding the reach of higher education to those who may not have had the opportunity otherwise. Now that we are past the peak of the pandemic, less hybrid and online courses are being offered and it is too costly for some to attend. Public transportation is not always viable and the housing shortage only makes it more difficult for students to come to campus and pursue their education.

Ultimately, the current housing shortage and overcrowding of most universities is detrimental to the success and well-being of current and future students. Not having a reliable place to live, and constantly worrying about housing insecurity, will deter people from going to school and create more challenges for those currently attending. There is no quick fix to the problem. Campuses need to reevaluate their populations and ensure their students have somewhere safe to sleep. Government programs and more funding are a start, but community relations also play a huge role in finding and building affordable housing. Higher education is already seen as prestigious or exclusive and this new barrier upholds institutional racism and classism. Instead of supporting their students, the UC is allowing them to fail by not doing more.


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    The Highlander editorials reflect the majority view of the Highlander Editorial Board. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Associated Students of UCR or the University of California system.