Why are UC Berkeley’s dorms so expensive?

Simone Anne Lang/File

Business Insider released a ranking of the colleges with the most expensive room and board last week. We UC Berkeley students know our dorms are expensive — we just didn’t know how they compared with other dorms around the country. Many of us were surprised to learn that not only does UC Berkeley have the most expensive dorms in California, but it also has the third-most expensive dorms in the entire country.

For those of us who have spent a year or more in said dorms, this news is somewhat shocking. Our dorms are nice, of course. But unless you’re living in the largest, most recently renovated room in Clark Kerr Campus, it’s hard to imagine why our dorms need to be so expensive. For us at the Clog, Business Insider’s revelation sparked in us an intense interest to uncover the truth. What exactly is the campus doing with all the dorming dollars it so ruthlessly takes from us? While we haven’t entirely uncovered the truth yet, we’d like to offer some of our best hypotheses in the meantime.

By far the most likely reason that UC Berkeley’s dorms are so expensive is because of the costs of maintaining Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ facial hair. Obviously, that type of mustache doesn’t just groom itself. As we’ve all come to know in the time since adolescence, with great facial hair comes great responsibility. It’s only logical that our room and board at UC Berkeley costs upwards of $15,000 — the campus needs this revenue to offset the costs of shaving and carefully grooming the pride of the University of California: Dirks’ mustache.


J. Hannah Lee/Staff

Another hypothesis we’re looking into suggests that the revenue generated through room and board at UC Berkeley is used to feed the ever-growing squirrel population on campus. This idea makes sense — it’s practically a rite of passage for a UC Berkeley student to have his or her treacherous trek to class rudely interrupted by a squirrel that decides at exactly the wrong moment to stop moving and block the path. But we still love them and want to feed them as nutritiously as we ourselves want to be fed. Of course, fair-trade, certified-organic, GMO-free squirrel food is not easy to come by — and when it is, it’s pretty expensive. Thus, campus officials have decided to use the extra money the school makes from housing costs to purchase squirrel food.


Hayden Irwin/Staff

Despite the inherent logic found in the previous two hypotheses, we at the Clog are also looking into a third potential reason as to why UC Berkeley’s dorms are so expensive. It has come to our attention that the paper typically used by students when flyering on Sproul Plaza is a special, rather expensive kind of paper. This paper possesses the unique ability to repulse potential flier grabbers. Something in the paper triggers a disgusting smell sensation within the potential flier recipient, making him or her go to great lengths to avoid said flier. This quality not only benefits the flier-taker by relieving him from having to take unnecessary, irrelevant and unwanted fliers — it also benefits the person flyering, who does not even have to try to get rid of his fliers. This quality was developed in a top-secret lab at an undisclosed location somewhere in the deep recesses of Dwinelle Hall. The money from our dorm rooms goes toward the maintaing of such a lab, as well as subsidizing the printing costs for the perpetual storm of fliers with which we are bombarded.


Daria Andrew/Staff

While we have not yet received confirmation of any of the above hypotheses, we at the Clog have reason to believe they are all true.

Contact Rachel Feder at [email protected].