Lower SBCC enrollment doesn’t ease student housing crunch

MEGAN ROBERTS-KING, Associate Editor

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The number of students enrolled at the City College has gone down from last fall but housing shortages continue to be a huge problem.

Executive Vice President Dr. Jack Friedlander is creating an analysis about the decreased enrollment and which student groups had the highest drop in their numbers.

“The two major areas where we lost our students were out-of-area California students and international students,” said Friedlander. “We are down about 5.7 percent from outside of our district in California. We’re also down about 7.3 percent international students, and part of that was by design.”

Due to pressure from the community, City College officials agreed to reduce the number of international students who attend the school.

To do so, City College raised tuition for out-of-area students, increased the criteria necessary to be eligible for study, and pushed the application date earlier. On top of this was a change in Swedish government that has had an effect on how many Swedish students are able to study abroad in California.

“Because in late spring, Swedish government announced a change in their policy,” said Friedlander. “And that had a large effect on Swedish students.”

According to Superintendent-President Lori Gaskin, after the recession City College greatly reduced their budget making it difficult to offer the same amount of classes.

“The fiscal restraints on the state and this institution were pretty significant. There was a great deal of budget reductions,” said Gaskin. “The college’s budget was cut so much that they had to cut back a ton of courses offered, in order to stay fiscally solvent.”

With less out-of-area advertisement and increased tuition prices, there has been a decrease in students moving to Santa Barbara to attend City College.

However, the housing market seems to be more impacted than previous years.

Even Jonathan Abboud, the Isla Vista representative on the Board of Trustees, is struggling to find a decent living situation in Santa Barbara. Lori Gaskin mentioned his dilemma in her weekly update on Sept. 8 and requested help in his search for housing.

“Housing is a regional issue in Santa Barbara and the vacancy rate is very low. There hasn’t been enough housing to sustain the increase in demand,” said Abboud. “This has especially impacted working families, who have been pushed out further away from Santa Barbara, but still need to work here. I think it is a good idea for City College to be a part of solution in alleviating the housing shortage to minimize our impact.”

With an extremely low vacancy rate of less than 1 percent, it would seem that with less students attending City College there would follow a slight increase in housing options. It’s obvious the impacted housing market does not directly come from City College.

As Gaskin pointed out, “this is just a high cost living area.”

“This semester’s lower enrollment numbers should not be seen as a complete forecast for future enrollment numbers,” said Student Senator Ethan Bertrand. “Without a dramatic reduction of the number of city college students, for which I am by no means advocating for, or a sharp increase in the supply of new housing options, there will continue to be a shortage of available student housing.”

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