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As UC San Diego Chancellor, Here’s How I’ll Make Student Housing Affordable and Accessible

By University of California San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla:

San Diegans are well aware that the nationwide housing crunch presents particular challenges in our high-cost, low-inventory regional community. This shortage of accessible and affordable housing, in combination with growing and unprecedented demand for a UC San Diego education — as the second-most applied to university in the nation — continues to drive the need for a long- and short-term, strategic approach to increasing on-campus housing.

Expanding access to higher education has been a top priority during my 11-year tenure as UC San Diego chancellor. As a top-ranked research university and valued public asset, UC San Diego’s mission is focused on serving Californians. All decisions we make are grounded in our commitment to service, and guided by our Strategic Plan. This plan focuses on investments and strategies that advance our transformative student-centered, research-oriented, patient-centric and service-oriented responsibility as a public university. These strategies include expanding access to students seeking a high-quality education by steadily increasing enrollment capacity. And to support this growing student body, we continue to make ongoing investments that expand access to on-campus housing at rates below the local market.

Knowing that housing and living costs in San Diego are typically more expensive than tuition at UC San Diego, we are taking concrete actions and actively making progress toward our ultimate goal of expanding the current two-year undergraduate housing guarantee to all four years. In fact, our ultimate goal is to lower the overall cost of education by providing on-campus housing for up to 65 percent of all students at below-market rates by 2035 — and we are well on our way.

Over the past decade, UC San Diego has continuously invested in new housing developments and markedly expanded on-campus housing inventory. We worked to address concerns and delays, and have succeeded in constructing new, below-market housing for more than 5,500 students during this time. Projects currently underway — including Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood recently approved by the UC Board of Regents, and Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood, which is under active construction — will provide new housing for an additional 5,700 students. Today, we are proud to rank third in the nation for the amount of student housing we provide on campus. By 2025, we will offer on-campus housing for more than 22,000 students — which will make UC San Diego the largest on-campus housing program in the country.

Progress takes time, but our progress is leading the nation and supported by national trends. Approximately 32 percent of America’s college students live in campus-owned housing. UC San Diego far outpaces this national average, with 39 percent of our undergraduate students and 49 percent of our graduate students living on campus last year alone. This fall, we have offered nearly 14,000 beds for undergraduate students. We recognize that there is more to be done. And we strive to do more.

Read the rest of the article in The San Diego Tribune.