UC Berkeley loses $30M due to limited housing, dining amid COVID-19 pandemic

An empty dormitory court yard as a tall building looms above.
Kaho Otake/File
Stett Holbrook, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, said as of Aug. 31, UC campuses have lost more than $387.7 million after offering refunds for housing and dining to students who chose to leave campus last spring and limiting summer housing.

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The limiting of campus housing and dining options due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of dollars in losses for UC Berkeley.

Campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff said campus lost $30 million in revenue related to housing, dining and conferences or events in fiscal year 2020. Of the $30 million, $29 million was lost in Cal Housing and Dining and $1 million in concessions, conferences and event catering services.

Total COVID-19 related costs for UC Berkeley — from when campus went remote in March to June 2021 — are projected to amount to $340 million, Ratliff added.

“In terms of the future,” Ratliff said in an email, “it’s difficult to predict given the changing and unprecedented nature of the current pandemic.”

Stett Holbrook, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, said as of Aug. 31, UC campuses have lost more than $387.7 million after offering refunds for housing and dining to students who chose to leave campus last spring and limiting summer housing.

Holbrook said the UC system has received $779.6 million from the federal coronavirus relief bill, with $137.4 million for campus losses, $130 million for student financial aid and $512.2 million for UC Health’s five academic health centers.

There is also the possibility of more federal funding if a new stimulus bill is approved, according to Holbrook, although it is unclear whether the bill would be enough to cover both existing and future costs.

“UC is aggressively pursuing federal funds to help alleviate some of the cost pressures that have come about due to the pandemic,” Holbrook said in an email.

Contact Mela Seyoum at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @melaseyoum.