California Community Colleges Building More Student Housing
The state plans on spending $2.2 billion over the next three years on new and expanded student housing at community colleges.
Although living in student dorms is considered a normal part of the four-year college experience, the option to live on-campus is usually not available for students who attend community colleges. That fact, however, is changing in California.
The state has rolled out $500 million in grants to build or expand existing residence halls, apartment buildings, and micro-houses at a dozen community colleges. In all, California plans on spending $2.2 billion over the next three years on community college student housing, reports Cal Matters.
The building of on-campus dorms at community colleges is intended to provide affordable housing to students who often struggle to pay rent, which is skyrocketing and poses a serious barrier to students wanting to pursue a college education. The goal is also to improve service to foster youth, veterans, and formerly incarcerated students.
According to a study published in 2019, 56% of the approximately 86,000 college and university students surveyed experienced housing insecurity in the past year, with 30% struggling with rent increases, and 3% being summoned to housing court due to lack of payment. Nearly one in five (19%) community college students were homeless, and 45% of college and university students experienced food insecurity in the past year.
Although 12 of California’s community colleges already have dorms, most were built in the 1960s and are in rural areas, intended to make commuting to class easier. The current wave of new student housing construction will be in both urban and rural areas. Some of the units are micro-houses built on city-owned land.
The community colleges that have received student housing grants include Bakersfield College, Compton College, College of the Canyons, College of the Siskiyous, Cosumnes River College, Fresno City College, Imperial Valley College, Lake Tahoe Community College, Napa Valley College, Santa Rosa Junior College, Sierra College, and Ventura College.
Some of the new residence halls are already open, and the colleges conduct price assessments to ensure the dorms rent at or below market rates, reports Cal Matters.
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