Many graduating seniors have mixed feelings of excitement and fear with the end of the school year rapidly approaching and the looming question of “what’s next?” hanging over their heads.
With unemployment still at 9 percent according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and financial woes affecting many students, moving back home with their parents may seem like the only option.
“Mostly it’s because of the lack of a job, which causes a financial burden and by extension a housing issue,” said Joseph Benjamin, an SF State undergraduate adviser. “Housing is, especially in this area, expensive. You need a steady, full-time job just to cover its cost and have enough for all of your new, freshly-graduated pursuits.”
Student housing on and around campus is cheaper than living in other parts of the city, but many SF State
students have not been satisfied with the living conditions. According to an SF State Student Voice survey, 48 percent of students were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with student housing, and would not recommend it to other students. The same survey showed that 11 percent of students were sure they were going to move back home while 24 percent knew they would need to move to less expensive housing.
“For a time I lived in Parkmerced with some friends of mine,” said John Baxter, SF State history major. “After I finished a year of school we thought about renewing our lease but it didn’t work out. I was running low on money so I decided to move home to save. I’m working to save up and move out again.”
A student’s lifestyle can get expensive quickly. As tuition continues to increase, this leaves little money left over for student expenses. Between tuition, books, rent and food, there is not much money for a social life.
“That’s the root of the problem,” Benjamin said. “Students aren’t building a good safety net for after they graduate.”
SF State graduate Jeff De Vera wasn’t able to afford moving out at all while he was attending school.
“I stayed home for mainly financial reasons,” De Vera said. “It was cheaper for me to stay at home than to try and get an apartment. I was living off of financial aid and as a full-time student there was no room for me to get a job.”
As students recognize the negative impact that the current economic conditions play on their career options, many consider pursuing a graduate degree after school to help increase their chances of future employment–33 percent of students according to the
SF State survey.
“The job market is tough right now for recent graduates,” said Kimberley Altura, an SF State undergraduate adviser. “The cost of living in California and the Bay Area is high and there is a lot of competition for jobs.”