UC San Diego Increasing Housing, Lowering Overall Cost of Education

rendering of the new Peppery Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood

Construction of Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood will start this summer, with the goal of opening in the fall of 2024. Copyright: Perkins & Will Architects

Last week, the San Diego Union-Tribune published an opinion article I wrote sharing what UC San Diego is doing to help students with housing on and off campus. Our strategies for building new on-campus housing to enhance the student experience have been in motion for nearly a decade. 

In 2014, UC San Diego committed to working toward a four-year housing guarantee at 20 percent below market rate for graduate and undergraduate students. Since then, we have built 3,530 new beds for graduate students and 2,000 new beds for undergraduate students. With 18,022 total beds on campus today, UC San Diego ranks third in the nation for student housing inventory, just behind Penn State and UCLA.

Although the pandemic momentarily slowed progress toward our goal, we have expanded our strategies to address the current housing shortage. 

For example, this fall we will add 700 beds by reinstituting triple occupancy in select rooms, increasing capacity and providing more cost-effective solutions to our students.

For those living off-campus, students can schedule consultations to review housing options and find move-in and move-out resources through our Off-Campus Housing Office. Our off-campus housing website features current listings, house-hunting tips, a roommate-finder tool and access to assistance from our dedicated off-campus housing team.

UC San Diego has also partnered with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the North County Transit District to offer students the Triton U-Pass, providing subsidized transit on the Coaster, Rapid 237 express bus and trolley. U-Pass provides direct, cost-effective access to housing options near rapid transit throughout the county.

UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley station on campus

The arrival of the new UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley Line extension in November 2021 opened a wider range of affordable off-campus housing options located within walking distance of rapid transit.

We are also forging ahead with plans to enhance the student experience while lowering costs and increasing access to a UC education. 

Starting in fall 2023, three new on-campus housing neighborhoods will open in successive years, adding 5,300 new undergraduate beds on campus by 2025. Future plans to replace older housing with new living learning neighborhoods will increase on-campus housing by at least 10,000 beds by 2035.

To further reduce the cost of housing and therefore the cost of education, I have worked successfully with the UC Regents and state legislators to develop the new $2 billion Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program that is helping to build new student housing across California. UC San Diego recently received a $100 million grant from the program, which will be leveraged to lower rates up to 55 percent below market for 1,100 low-income California resident students. 

UC San Diego continues to make progress toward a four-year housing guarantee at 20 percent below market rate. If enrollment projections are unchanged, our goal to house 50 percent of all students is within reach by 2025. Building housing that students, staff and faculty can afford will continue to be a top priority.