Housing crisis grows for thousands of California students
- More than 5% of the University of California System's student body is classified as having unstable housing, and most get by staying temporarily with friends and relatives, or in shelters, motels or vehicles, according to a recent story about one California, Berkeley student's battle with homelessness published in the Los Angeles Times.
- Total estimates of the number of students with unstable housing in the California State University System exceeds 40,000, and around 44,000 in the Los Angeles Community College District.
- UC System leaders have worked to counter the residential student crisis by awarding additional funds to help students secure reliable housing and food options and with plans to construct 14,000 beds over the next two years across campuses.
Part of the narrative that is rarely discussed in issues like homelessness or limited food resources is the impact of enrollment strategies to build access for students from low-income households. Many campuses are helping students who cannot afford the ancillary costs of higher education, or at least considering ways to make educational access more manageable for students who work, or those who little-to-no money beyond the federal and state resources which cover tuition and learning materials.
Schools may take great pride in expanding access, which can encourage college leaders to establish fundraising relationships, corporate partnerships and lobbying initiatives to support the full meaning of access for low-income students. Most of the academic challenges have been embraced by campuses, but basic necessities and the stress and bad academic byproducts they can yield when students can't afford them, may be more important than ensuring how well students are able to academically adapt or catch up to college-level work.