According to the Public Policy Institute of California’s (PPIC) annual survey of attitudes on the state’s public higher education systems, California’s public colleges and universities don’t do enough to help students find affordable places to live. Of the 1,703 residents who were surveyed, 85 percent felt that the biggest problem for higher education in the state was housing. According to the survey, 75 percent of respondents believe that the stress placed on students to find adequate, affordable places to live near campus is so great that many people simply give up and never graduate. Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, stated,
Most Californians going to college are in the community college or California State University system, which don’t always have dorms — and housing has gotten really, really expensive. It’s a big problem. How are we going to achieve the kind of college graduation rates we need unless we somehow connect the dots between housing and affordability in California?
According to a 2017 report on housing at UC Berkeley, UC’s flagship campus, there is a shortage of 6,900 beds out of the 15,600 beds needed to house just half of its undergraduates and a quarter of its graduate students. If California’s higher education system problems aren’t resolved, there will be a shortage of 1.1 million college-educated workers by 2030, according to the PPIC. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, which means that the sentiment about housing being a barrier for higher education was strong amongst respondents. The survey also asked Californians what they think should be done about the housing shortage and 53 percent of the respondents were unwilling to tax themselves to solve the problem. The survey by the PPIC raised some interesting questions that should hopefully get some interesting solutions to address the barriers to higher education.