Early graduates, study abroad students struggle to find short-term housing options

by Daniel Guerrero, Senior Staff Writer

Students that find themselves looking to complete a semester’s worth of classes may look for housing that offers a six-month lease, but many say they have trouble finding a place to move in to due to limited options on and off campus. 

Despite housing being available to upper division students on-campus, some students have looked for housing off-campus, but it can be challenging.

Melissa Santos graduated from San Diego State’s teaching credential program in December 2019 after graduating in May 2018 with her bachelor’s in liberal studies. 

“Based on my experience, there was not a huge selection of housing that is available for six months and if there is, it gets rented pretty fast,” Santos said. 

Santos said she first looked at the options SDSU had for temporary housing but had difficulty with its process.

“Before I began my search, I tried to sign up for on-campus housing, but I was told by the housing office that I had lower priority,” Santos said.

From there Santos took to Facebook housing groups such as the San Diego State University (SDSU) Housing, Sublets & Roommates page where students tend to post housing availability.

The search for housing outside of the options offered from the university began in March 2019 and ended in June 2019 for Santos. During the search, she had complications getting in contact with people about openings.

“I messaged as many people as I could, but I often was too late, ghosted at the last minute or people would rent to a close friend or someone they knew,” Santos said.

Santos eventually found an apartment, but had to settle for a 12-month lease and was able to sublet the space three months after she completed her credential program. 

Justin Shump also graduated a semester early with a bachelor’s in business marketing in December 2019.

Because Shump was able to finish early, he found himself in a situation where he only needed housing for one semester.

“It was a bit stressful because I didn’t want to have to sign a year-long lease,” he said.

While Santos’ search was through Facebook, Shump turned to people he knew from his church, San Diego Church of Christ, where families offered to help him out. 

“People were so generous,” he said. “I had a bunch of families who were willing to let me stay with them.”

Shump, who lived in the dorms during his freshman year, said he didn’t turn to SDSU because of the costs of campus housing.

“I knew SDSU was more expensive so it wasn’t ever an option,” he said.

Director of Housing Administration Cynthia Cervantes said the university provides options for students who are looking for short-term housing if they are enrolled in the fall, spring or summer. 

Students who find housing on campus for one semester can apply to be released if they provide proof of graduation. If a student also studies abroad and wants to opt-out of their lease, they can also provide proof that they are admitted to the program along with unofficial transcript proof that the program supports their field of study.

“As long as you get the documentation requested, then we send a letter of approval if they meet all criteria,” she said.

Cervantes said the fall semester process also includes a housing list and it is a first-come-first-serve basis of applications for students looking for temporary housing, but the process is the same as it is for students looking for year-long housing.

“It’s based on space availability and that’s regardless if it’s one semester or an academic year,” Cervantes said. “Space is assigned based on what’s available.”

Cervantes said the process for students to be released from their lease is available online and is a simple process.

Upper division students who apply for housing will be notified by May, according to SDSU’s housing website