A team from the UC Office of the President began visiting campuses on Jan. 22 to help advance a systemwide housing initiative aimed at supporting the existing student population and future enrollment growth.
President Janet Napolitano announced the initiative during her opening remarks at the Board of Regents meeting last week. She aims to expand the pool of student housing over the next four years, and to accelerate the timetable for completing student housing developments that are already in the planning phase.
On a UC website outling the president's initiative, the university estimates that it could add nearly 14,000 new beds over the next several years. One of the initiative’s central tasks will be accelerating this timeline. This includes the creation of new beds for undergraduates in residence halls and the addition of more graduate student housing and other apartments that are generally open to all students.
The website states the initiative's overarching goals: to ensure that each of UC's campuses has sufficient housing for its growing student populace and to keep housing as affordable as possible.
More from the website:
Background: Communities around California for years have faced the challenge of ensuring sufficient affordable housing for residents. Housing availability is in particularly short supply in some of the communities that are home to UC campuses.
The housing initiative addresses those circumstances by harnessing the expertise and resources of the UC system to accelerate the creation of affordable student housing at every UC campus.
Along with facilitating projects that are already in planning and development, the initiative aims to spur new housing construction, and potentially, the acquisition of existing housing stock.
Next steps: Beginning Jan. 22, an internal developer team, led by Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom and senior leaders from the offices of the CFO and chief investment officer, will begin visits to all 10 campuses to better understand their specific housing goals. They will also assess existing barriers to development, such as debt capacity or site issues. This internal developer team then will:
- Facilitate the accelerated development of those student housing projects that are already in production or proposed.
- Assess campus-specific issues affecting additional development and work with campuses to overcome them.
- Identify and develop new funding options, such as third-party financing, that could help ensure the affordability of new projects.
- Ensure that internal policies and processes align with housing initiative goals.
UC senior leaders will also meet with undergraduate and graduate student leaders to obtain their input and advice on housing issues.