UC President Janet Napolitano announced a new plan to add 14,000 beds to UC campuses by 2020 at the UC Board of Regents meeting on Jan. 20. The President’s Student Housing Initiative, is part of a systemwide effort to ensure sufficient housing for what is expected to be a significant enrollment increase over the next three years.
UC Office of the President Media Specialist Kate Moser told the UCSD Guardian that the housing initiative is also an effort to keep housing affordable for all UC students.
“Many of our campuses are located amid some of California’s most expensive real estate,” Moser said. “And this effort is aimed at alleviating any housing shortages students are facing and supporting current students as well as future enrollment growth.”
UCSA President Kevin Sabo told the Guardian that Napolitano’s housing initiative builds on a current proposal that was already adopted.
“There were some different capital projects that had to do with housing that would have been completed several years from now,” Sabo said. “And this proposal is a way to speed that up so that the 14,000 beds are accomplished by 2020 rather than several years from that point on.”
Sabo continued by pointing out that the housing initiative would not be completed in time for the upcoming enrollment boost of 10,000 students.
“There aren’t solutions in place for them so we still have our work to do and we’re not out of the woods yet,” Sabo said.
In terms of funding for additional housing, each campus will assume additional debt according to its respective debt capacities. Sabo pointed out that although the housing initiative will not cause students’ fees to increase in the short run, campuses only have two options in the future.
“The important thing to remember is in the short term, technically our tuition is not going up,” Sabo said. “But if campuses are assuming additional debt, then that means in the future they’ll either be asking for that funding from the state or they’ll be raising tuition and fees.”
The next step in the initiative is a system tour to all 10 campuses conducted by Executive Vice President – Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom and Chief Investments Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher to understand housing goals. The visits are scheduled to begin on Jan. 22.