More than office hours: Higher ed faculty, staff asked to house students

Higher ed has entered a new phase of student and faculty collaboration.

Administrators at the University of California, Santa Cruz this summer sent an email to faculty and staff urging them to consider renting rooms to students. At the time, a few hundred students were on a housing waitlist.

“We did mark a year-over-year increase from the end of August to mid-September, resulting in almost 50 more listings,” says university news director Scott Hernandez-Jason of the impact of the email.

The coastal community, like much of the rest of California, faces several housing pressures that are reducing vacancies and pushing up costs. People priced out of Silicon Valley, about 40 miles north, have relocated to Santa Cruz.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of local homeowners now list their properties on Airbnb and as vacation rentals, further limiting students’ options, Hernandez-Jason says.

And because of worsening traffic congestion on local Highway 1, many students want to live as close to campus as possible, he adds.

The university houses about half of its undergraduates, accommodating more students than all but one of California’s public universities, Hernandez-Jason says. The Student Housing West project now underway will add 3,000 new beds to campus.

The university’s website offers a sample of local rental costs by size and type (

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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