Off-Campus Housing Crisis Deepens

Vimbai Moyo

As the fall semester kicks off, many students at Cal State Long Beach find themselves living in a hotel instead of a dorm room for the semester. Students who had hopes in securing a more affordable and convenient off-campus housing residency had to change their plans and reside in temporary hotel accommodations due to the lack of available alternatives.

Last semester, over 3,200 students applied for on and off-campus housing; however, spots were only granted to the first 600 applicants. The rest were placed on a waiting list where they would either have to hear back soon or find alternative methods for residency. Some students were not given much time to sort out their living situation and they had to accommodate accordingly.

“I was on the paid wait list for the dorms, I was like spot 237 and it wasn’t moving,” Abigail Wall, a CSULB student residing at Hotel Current. “One of the emails I received mentioned hotels partnering with the school so my mom and I emailed them and here we are.”

This is the first full academic year where the option of residing at the partnering hotel is available to students. The students living at Hotel Current, one of the hotels partnering with the school to provide off-campus housing, are given about 30 rooms within the hotel, some being double occupancy. The university reached out a couple years ago to the hotel to help assist with the rising number of students who needed off-campus housing assistance.

There are two tier options that students get to choose from, an unfurnished studio and a semi furnished option. The choices presented for students aren’t much different than if they were trying to dorm through the campus itself; however, the circumstances are not identical.

“We do a minimum of two months and then after two months and then after two months it becomes a month to month agreement,” Wayne Nagel, hotel manager at Hotel Current said. “Some students sign up for a year, some only do it for a month. We look at each case differently.”

The amount of students applying to the college campus has been increasing over the years. According to the annual report from CSULB, the school received over 115,000 applicants in 2022 and over 120,000 applications for 2023, making it a 4% increase. With CSU Long Beach leading Cal State campuses in applications, off-campus housing is becoming more of a scarcity for students.

Hotel Current is about a five minute drive to campus and approximately a 13 minutes bus ride for those who do not have reliable transportation. While the distance is not too far, it can come with its own set of issues for students.

“I have a dining hall pass but I don’t have a car right now.” Abigail said. “There have been some nights where I have gone hungry because I can’t go and get food because I can’t leave.”

The housing office at CSULB does provide assistance for students who may be having difficulty with their living situations.

“We offer sources for students to search for housing off-campus and (Hotel Current) is one of the sources that we offer,” said Lauren Burdsall, administrative coordinator at Cal State Long Beach.. “There is also a discounted rate that is offered to CSULB students.”

The inconvenience of living away from campus can be a difficult situation to adjust with. Even with university assistance, students still have to modify their finances, which in turn can be another form of stress alongside the academic hardships.

Currently, it is uncertain whether or not this will be a long term partnership with the hotels for the off-campus housing predicament.


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