The Associated Students’ Office of Food & Housing Resources announced that four Marriott Hotel locations will make available additional housing options for students during the upcoming 2021-2022 academic school year. This announcement comes amid a local housing shortage, as thousands of UC San Diego students are struggling to secure off-campus housing.
The hotels, all of which are located within a 6-mile radius of UCSD, allow students the ability to book rooms at discounted rates, with the lowest rates applied when the student stays for a minimum of 90 consecutive days. Currently, the rates for staying the entirety of Fall Quarter 2021 in a studio with a king-size bed and sofa bed are approximately $120 per night, amounting to a total of over $12,000 (including taxes and fees).
The UCSD Guardian reached out to UCSD administration regarding their estimates of how many students plan to temporarily stay at the Marriott.
“In the past week, the hotel has received a large volume of calls and emails from students and parents,” Associate Director of University Communications Leslie Sepuka said. “Our understanding is that most [students] are waiting to see if they are able to get housing by September 22, and if not, they will use this option for temporary, immediate housing.”
When asked if the administration will be looking for other ways to increase housing capacity, Sepuka did not indicate any additional steps that will be taken.
“The university has continued to reduce the housing waitlist, making 785 [on-campus] housing offers to students over the summer,” Sepuka said.
This housing opportunity was announced on social media, following weeks of student petitions calling upon campus officials to take action in the housing crisis.
The current housing shortage can be explained by the steadily increasing enrollment at UCSD. Over the past three years, students enrolled at a significantly large amount, with numbers growing by 2,174 in 2018, and by 835 in 2019, and 850 in 2020.
There are no signs of enrollment increases slowing down. University of California Board of Regents Chair Cecilia V. Estolano recently stated in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that one of UC’s main priorities is to expand enrollment.
COVID-19 protocols also make it more difficult for students to acquire on-campus housing. UCSD Housing Dining Hospitality does not currently triple occupancy room assignments, which eliminated approximately 2,100 on-campus housing slots.
With more students looking to find off-campus housing, rent prices in La Jolla have risen to an all-time high. According to Rent Cafe, rent in La Jolla has increased by 14 percent from last year to an average of $2,665. This amount is higher than the average in both San Diego and Los Angeles.
The Marriott hotel housing is one of the first attempts from UCSD to mitigate the ongoing housing shortage. In a social media post, A.S. Office of Food & Housing Resources acknowledged that this option may not be viable for many students:
“The A.S. Office of Food & Housing Resources acknowledges that this option may not be feasible for all students, but with the urgent lack of housing availability in general, the basic needs team worked to get this program started first,” the statement read. “We are continually searching for potential solutions to the housing crisis, and hope that this accommodation can help some students.”
With the lack of proper accommodations, many students who are facing the immense competition of finding housing for the upcoming year have said that they would consider staying in the Marriott hotels despite the extra costs.
David Imig, a Thurgood Marshall College junior, shared his experience with finding an apartment and the straining process with The UCSD Guardian.
“My experience was immensely stressful. I started looking in early June. Every day this summer I would wake up and check Zillow and Apartments.com…” Imig said. “When listings were posted, they [would] have hundreds of contacts and dozens of applications already by the time I’d see them. It felt like no matter what I did and regardless of how qualified I was to apply, my application would inevitably get ignored as each other applicant was just as good if not better.”
Imig submitted upwards of 30 applications and said that he began offering realtors to pay 12 months of rent upfront and offering to pay above the asking price.
“I realize that it is a privilege to be able to offer above [the] asking price and that many other students would not be able to,” Imig added. “I feel for everyone stressed out by this crisis.”
For students looking to check the rates or book rooms with Marriott, please visit their website. Students who need assistance with finding off-campus housing are encouraged to contact the Basic Needs Hub.
Photo courtesy of Marriott Bonvoy