Breaking Ground to Break the Mold on Transfer Student Housing: Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood

From left to right: Associated Students President Sky Yang, AVC for Housing Dining Hospitality Hemlata Jhaveri, EVC Elizabeth Simmons, Chancellor Khosla, Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly person Chris Ward and Assembly person Tasha Boerner Horvath at the Pepper Canyon West Living Learning Neighborhood groundbreaking.

On Tuesday, we celebrated the groundbreaking of a very impactful project — the Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood. This project will provide 1,300 new single-occupancy housing units for transfer students and also include retail, services, open spaces in two large courtyards, and access to canyon trails. And Triton transfer students cannot wait to move in.

Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood

Construction of the Pepper Canyon West student housing has commenced, with the goal of opening in the fall of 2024.
Copyright: Perkins & Will Architects.

Housing constitutes more than 50 percent of the total cost of higher education. Anything we can do to lower the cost of housing, lowers the overall cost of education. We have been working on several strategies to help reduce the cost of housing. For example, I worked with the UC Regents and state legislators last year on the creation of a new $2 billion Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program. This important program is helping to build new student housing all across California.

UC San Diego recently received a $100 million grant from the new student housing program. We will use the grant to lower housing rates up to 55% below market for 1,100 low-income California students. We are able to do this in part because our existing on-campus rates are already below market rates. And recently, we were able to reinstate our two-year housing guarantee to undergraduate students.

We also continue to add more inventory at every chance. Since 2015, we have opened 3,530 new beds for graduate students and 2,000 new beds for undergraduate students. At 18,022 total beds on campus, UC San Diego now ranks third in the nation for student housing inventory, just behind Penn State and UCLA. And more student housing is on the way. With the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, the Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood and a third project in development, we will add a total 5,300 new undergraduate beds to campus by 2025.

AS President Sky Yang with his commemorative shovel

Associated Students President Sky Yang holding his commemorative shovel.

All of our neighborhoods offer housing that students can afford. It's a win for families, and a win for student success because we know that students who live on campus are more engaged. They are more focused. And they are more likely to complete their degrees sooner, saving them time and also expense.

Future plans will increase on-campus housing by at least 10,000 beds by 2035. All of this new housing brings us closer to our ultimate goal of providing students a four-year housing guarantee at 20% below market. We do this to realize our vision to be a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.