San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Despite on-campus living options growing, dorms are not affordable or spacious enough

First-year students are continually squeezed into expensive triples with no sign of price reduction
Calista Stocker
College View Apartments is under construction near San Diego State University.

Since the newest dorm building built in 2019, first-year enrollment at San Diego State University has spiked by over 1,200 students.

Around the same time, SDSU enacted its Sophomore Success program, requiring second- year students to live on campus as well. 

Despite growing underclassmen enrollment, recent housing construction projects have been for “off-campus” housing unaffiliated with the university.

Rather than keeping on-campus housing accessible for students, SDSU has opted to increase room capacity and prices, all while saving excess land for “off-campus” construction only available for upperclassmen. 

Located on 55th Street, College View Apartments is under construction behind the newest Huaxyacac freshman hall, and in front of the Tecs sophomore apartments.

However, the only convenient thing about these apartments is their close proximity to campus. 

According to the College View website, apartments are advertised as “first-class living options to students.” Units for next year start at $1,890 for a 4×4, and reach $2,600 for a studio. Similarly, the newest Topaz apartments on Montezuma Road charge $1,999 for a 4×4, and $2,679 for a studio. 

Even though San Diego has become the most expensive city in America, these prices exceed the city’s median rent of $1,842. 

Considering college students may be stereotyped as being broke, they need affordable options that allow them access to campus. However, these students won’t find solace in SDSU’s on-campus housing either. 

The 2022 academic year marked a significant change in housing. Fall freshman enrollment reached nearly 13,000, as compared to 11,600 the year prior. To account for this, many students have noticed that many of SDSU’s double-occupancy rooms have been converted into triple-occupancy. 

According to a 2020 CSU Board of Trustees meeting, converting room occupancies allowed for an affordable option for students while allowing universities to maintain finances for future housing construction projects.

For the 2024-2025 academic year, the cost of a triple dorm at SDSU, before including a meal plan, is $13,469. This averages out to around $1,600 a month when considering most students live on campus for eight months of the academic year. 

While the cost is a bit cheaper than median rent and off-campus options, the value decreases. SDSU’s on-campus housing is not an affordable enough option, and students get very little for what they pay for.

Most dorms are only 165 square feet. I know from personal experience that storage is a big issue. The limited space in a triple room is exacerbated by adding an extra bed, wardrobe and desk.

Even still, the desks in my dorm did not have drawers, and the closet just barely had enough room for my clothes. Sticking three people, who are essentially strangers, in an 11×15 room is a big challenge.

First-year Daniela Balmaceda is one of many students living in a triple dorm and working part-time to pay for her education.

Maya and Olmeca are the oldest dorms on campus. Balmaceda’s room has had chipping paint and broken heaters since she arrived.

Reflecting on her experience so far, Balmaceda’s biggest piece of advice for incoming freshmen is to choose their roommates before they come to campus.

“If not, you’re going to dread being there,” she said.

In planning for next year’s housing, Balmaceda hopes to get a single room. 

“I try to be outside most of the time, there’s just too many people there,” she said. “It’s so tight, there’s not a lot of space.”

First-year students outside the local admissions area, defined as south of Route 56, are required to live on campus without a car. Freshman dorms are meant to be an affordable, accessible way for students to learn how to live independently, get along with others, and acclimate to college. 

At SDSU, this is not the case.

As SDSU expands its acceptance rate, they create an increased housing demand with a lack of flexibility. Their top priority should be building more dorms to keep prices low, rather than squeezing students into tiny rooms while building luxury apartments in their backyard.