UCSD Ends Two Year Housing Guarantee

CampusNews

Eli Lawler / The Triton

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UC San Diego’s Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH) will no longer provide a two-year housing guarantee for students’ first two years on campus. The new policy replaces the two year guarantee with a priority system which ranks groups of students, offering housing first to those at the top of the list.

First on the priority list are students who are mandated to live on campus or are being provided four years of housing, such as the Chancellor’s Associate’s Scholars (CASP). The second group will be incoming first-years and transfer students, as well as returning second year students who lived on-campus during the 2020-2021 school year. The third group are continuing second-year students who will be chosen on a lottery basis, and the fourth group are the remaining third and fourth-year students.

Due to the pandemic, the university has decided to only allow single and double occupancy room assignments. No triple occupancy will be allowed due to COVID-related restrictions. “As a result of the net loss of housing capacity, the university is not able to offer on-campus housing guarantees until Fall 2023,” said Leslie Sepuka, Associate Director of University Communications, in a statement to The Triton.

By Fall 2023, the Theatre District Living Neighborhood is scheduled to open, which includes five buildings that will provide about 2,000 new beds for undergraduate students. It will be located on the west side of campus, just south of Revelle College. This project is currently under construction.

Currently, HDH anticipates that all undergraduate beds will be filled for Fall 2021. UC San Diego has the capacity to house 12,279 undergraduates, according to Sepuka. The HDH website states that they “expect to house groups 1 and 2 and some students from group 3.”

HDH’s COVID-19 support services will continue in the next school year, including isolation and quarantine housing, as necessary.

The school plans to handle their overflow between colleges the same as they did during prior years. “Assignments are made first at the student’s college of registration, and then to other locations based on proximity to their college and availability,” Sepuka said.

Earlier in the month, UCSD only included incoming freshmen and transfer students in the second group on the priority list. Because of this, many current first year students and parents had taken to Reddit and Facebook to express their concerns and questions regarding this prior announcement.

It was only recently that HDH updated their website and included returning second year students, who lived on campus during the 2020-2021 school year, alongside incoming freshmen and transfer students in the second tier of the priority list.

In a statement to The Triton, Haley Pritchard, a first year Chemistry major who’s currently living on campus, expressed concern about her housing situation.

“When I was debating whether or not I should live on campus in the fall, I was told if I didn’t, I would lose my housing guarantee. Nowhere was it ever suggested that the guarantee I made decisions based off of could be revoked,” Pritchard stated.

Since the two-year housing guarantee was only applicable if a student lived on campus for six consecutive academic quarters, many first year students initially decided to move on campus for the 2020-2021 school year to keep their housing guarantee. Despite their position in the priority system, housing for next year is not guaranteed for all second year students. Many students who decided to stay home for the 2020-2021 school year are unsure if they will be guaranteed a living space for the following 2021-2022 school year.

Nicole Muir, another first year Chemistry major who’s living on campus, shared these worries.

“There is a chance I will be able to get on-campus housing next year, but a lack of certainty makes me concerned about my living situation,” Muir mentioned.

Muir and Pritchard are only two of the majority of current freshmen who hope to receive a housing space for this upcoming school year.

According to Muir, “Living on campus means easier access to classes and campus resources, as well as money I don’t have to spend commuting to-and-from campus.”

Though this transition to a priority based system comes during a time where reduced bed sizes are a must, it remains to be seen whether a true return to two-year guarantees will be seen in Fall 2023. 

UCSD’s housing guarantee has been controversial in the last five years. Though the university once provided a four-year guarantee, this policy was changed for the 2014-2015 school year. Since then, the two-year housing guarantee was provided to students alongside constant campus expansion.

Current first year students will receive an eligibility email by the end of April to apply for on-campus housing with the priority process, according to HDH. The deadline to apply for housing is May 7 for incoming first year students and June 7 for transfer students.

Vanessa Gaeta-Munoz is a staff writer for The Triton.