State commission brief highlights housing, those affected by housing insecurity

Infographic displaying statistics about homelessness among students and student residency location
Connor Lin and Emily Bi/Senior Staff

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In a brief spotlighting housing, the California Student Aid Commission, or CSAC, found that Black and Hispanic students are disproportionately affected by housing insecurity.

Students identified housing as one of the biggest obstacles to success in college, according to the press release. Compiled from the 2018-19 Student Expenses and Resources Survey, the spotlight brief examines responses by segments, race and ethnicity, housing insecurity problems and whether students live with their parents or on campus.

“The findings really illuminate what we already know — we know students are having a hard time with expenses and housing, and it is really amplified in the Bay Area,” said CSAC spokesperson Bryan Sapp. “Latinos and African Americans experience housing insecurities even more, and it affects what they get out of school.”

Students who self-identified as “Hispanic/Latino” disproportionately live with their parents while students who self-identified as white disproportionately live on campus, according to the brief. Of the students surveyed, 51% of students living with parents are “Hispanic/Latino” while 34% of students living on campus are white.

The brief stated that 35% of students have experienced one or more conditions of housing insecurity including unstable living conditions, such as the inability to pay rent or utilities and the need to move frequently.

Students who were classified as housing insecure were more likely to be above the age of 22, female, Black and/or “Hispanic/Latino,” or have dependents, according to the brief.

“The big implications are listed,” said Patrick Perry, CSAC director of policy, research and data. “Housing insecurity is correlated with lower completion, persistence and credit attainment, all markers of nonsuccess.”

While “Hispanic/Latino” students make up the largest percentage of homeless students, the brief stated that students who self-identified as Black are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Making up 6% of the students surveyed, over 23% of Black students were homeless, according to the brief.

According to Sapp, there is a “need” to correct policy models and financial aid to get better funding to students in California to reflect the costs of attending college, not just tuition.

While a high cost of living is “reflective” of the Bay Area, student resources are available year-round, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff. He added that the campus is developing more housing options and intends to double the number of student beds available to undergraduate and graduate students.

“We understand that financing an education, including at UC Berkeley, can be challenging,” Ratliff said in an email. “We are committed to keeping costs like food as low as possible, as part of the broader campus objective of keeping the cost of a Berkeley education affordable.”

Contact Nina Narahari at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ninanarahari_dc.