San Francisco housing costs deter graduates from staying local

Madeleine Neale

With the school year coming to an end, graduating students have a lot more on their plate than just finals and assignments.

Housing and the rising cost of living in the Bay Area are affecting students’ decisions about staying in San Francisco.

Robert J. Nava, vice president of University Advancement, which is responsible for raising awareness and support of SF State’s research, academic and public service missions, said there are over 8,000 students graduating this year, and many still need to decide if they will continue to live in the city after graduation.

Preya Randhawa, a graduating business administration student, is one of many faced with this decision. She plans on traveling abroad to either Greece or Spain with her mom after graduation but is unsure whether she will return to San Francisco to find work.

“I might stay here for a year or two, but by then I’ll definitely be ready to go back to the suburban lifestyle,” Randhawa said. “The city has been great but I can’t see myself living here for long term. I’m a small-town girl at heart.”

Originally from Yuba City, California, Randhawa believes that the high cost of housing is a major reason why many students leave San Francisco shortly after finishing school.  

“I think a lot of people will leave here after graduation if they don’t have a job lined up already,” Randhawa said. “I can barely afford rent let alone save up enough money to relocate here permanently.”

The median home price in April in the Bay Area was $784,500, according to the California Association of Realtors. With this number rising, Lamar Pi, an industrial design student, said his only hope to stay in San Francisco is to find a job as soon as possible.

“I’m quite nervous about (my) future housing situation simply because I’m unsure what my next steps are,” Pi said. “I’d imagine many who graduate relocate, as it’s very challenging to find affordable housing in SF.”

Regardless of where students are living after leaving SF State, Nava said he believes students have the ability to go on to pursue their dream career with the skills they have acquired at SF State.

“We are so very proud of our 8,000 graduates,” Nava said. “San Francisco State has over 200,000 alumni and this year’s graduating class is going to be just another great group of graduates that are just going to go out and change the world for the better.”