Alec Weisman's

Posts Tagged ‘housing’

Popping the UCSD Housing Bubble

In Higher Education, Investigative Reporting on January 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Los Angeles – The University of California, San Diego Housing, Dining, and Hospitality (HDH) Services has made more than $250,000 in profit over the past five years through unused dining dollars, according to data released through a California Public Records Act Request. In addition, data also revealed the price per square foot for UCSD residence halls far exceeds the surrounding community.

A total of $286,421 unused dining dollars have returned to the HDH since the 2006-2007 academic year. The largest inflow of unused dining dollars occurred in the 2008-2009 academic year, when the HDH received $68,722. This increase in unused dining dollars corresponds to a mandatory meal plan increase of $650 for all students living in the dorms. In the years since, the price of many goods in campus dining halls have been inflated dramatically, which has reduced the amount of unused dining dollars received by the school from the 2008-2009 peak by more than $20,000 and $15,000 in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years, respectively.

This is profit for the self-supporting department of Housing, Dining, and Hospitality Services, which operates without any state funding and relies on students who choose to live on-campus to be conveniently located close to their classes. Although HDH claims that its meal plan is intended to be flexible, plans are not refundable and do not carry over to the next academic year. Therefore HDH keeps all dining dollars that are not used by students. Only in “unique circumstances,” such as withdrawal and participation in a Study Abroad program, can students recover a portion of their unused dining dollars.

This profit from dining dollars has been used by HDH on projects that include a fully vegan restaurant called Roots in Muir College, Meatless Mondays (where the dining halls provide vegan-only grill options), Farm 2U (where local farmers sell their goods on-campus), and cage-free eggs. However, student opinion has been repeatedly ignored in the development of these programs, as shown by a 2009 study sponsored by The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Budget Woes? Live Off-Campus and Save Money

In Investigative Reporting on September 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Washington, DC – Students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) now pay less if they live off-campus, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The estimated cost to live on campus has risen by more than $1,000 over the last five years. This more than thirteen percent increase is stark when compared to the cost of living off-campus. These lucky commuters will pay a mere $300 more than five years ago, a 3.2 percent increase that is below even the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate of 3.6 percent. In the 2011-2012 academic year, UCSD students who live off-campus are expected to save more than 800 dollars when compared to their on campus peers when considering all non-tuition expenses.

The 2010-2011 academic year was the first time that it was cheaper for a student to live off-campus after considering all expenses. For the 2011-2012 academic year room and board on the UCSD campus is expected to cost $11,571 on average, while commuters are expected to pay $9,669 for room and board.

Students at every college in the University of California (UC) system will find it is more expensive to live on campus. Yet as housing on the UC campuses grows more costly, students who live on campus in the California State University system and many California private universities will pay less. Students living on campus in the UC system paid on average $2,238 more than the surrounding community, whereas students saved on average $842 to live on campus in the CSU system. Several private universities saved students living on campus an average of $645 compared to students who commuted.

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