Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget aims to increase funding to CSUs by $300 million per year, and $15 million in one-time funding to help students who are experiencing food insecurity and homelessness statewide.
While it is still just a proposition, this one-time funding for students needs to be thoroughly planned for and put to good use — especially when there are students at SF State who get precluded from living in the dorms or in nearby apartments as a result of price.
San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the nation. The average cost of rent for an apartment is about $3,600 according to RentCafe, a nationwide internet listing service.
Many students who immigrate to this city are faced with the challenge of paying upwards of $1,000 per month to rent an often room, off campus.
While some students make use of Cal Grants, Pell Grants and other loans, many have to work part time between classes just to to afford rent.
A student who doesn’t want to live off campus would have to shell out about $1,600 a month for a shared dorm on campus, which is the lower-end package. Meals and other expenses are included in the price tag, but only if you sign up early enough to avoid the waitlist.
During the 2018 spring semester the waitlist exceeded 2,000 students, according to an Examiner interview with Vice President of University Enterprise Jason Porth.
It is time for students, faculty and community members to pressure SF State administration to focus on bringing as much of the $15 million promised in Gov. Newsom’s education budget to help these marginalized students — to fully fund and further flesh out programs and services that typically have limited reach and long waitlists.
Two programs that already help students unable to pay for food are the Gator Grub Alerts, a phone app which tells people where they can get free food on campus, and Gator Groceries, an on-campus food pantry. They make a great Band-Aid, but comprehensive, systematic reform is necessary if we ever hope to put to bed the epidemic of food and shelter insecurity faced by students.
We don’t have all the answers, but we know that our student body deserves better. It’s time to have meaningful conversations about, what our university represents and how it can be an agent of equity and positive change.
The Xpress staff suggests holding a public forum and inviting students of all backgrounds to discuss the best ways to prioritize the influx of funding. We implore administration: listen to the voices of students directly affected and come to a solution collaboratively.
Every party involved will be better for it.