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CSUs now legally have to tell students cost of living off-campus

Andrew Freeman

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A bill approved by Gov. Jerry Brown Aug. 7 will allow all CSU students and their parents to know the prices of off-campus housing more accurately, and how those prices compare to on-campus housing.

The bill, Assembly Bill No. 990, requires all CSU locations across California to keep accurate price listings of one-bedroom apartments surrounding their campuses starting Feb. 1 of next year, and to update these listings every year onward.

Chico State is no different, and University Housing is already hard at work ensuring the campus website lives up to the standards of Bill 990.

Abeer Mustafa, the executive director of University Housing said “We [University Housing] like to ensure that students have access to as much information as possible. Even now, we, along with Dan Herbert of Off Campus Services, are working to make this information available as soon as possible,” said Mustafa.

When asked about when the list for off-campus housing would be available, Mustafa mentioned sometime before the spring semester.

“We always try to meet new standards before the deadline given. Also, this helps students who will be looking for housing during the spring semester find a location that best suits their needs.”

As to why Bill 990 was passed, the answers can be found within the document itself. The bill has two sections, with section one declaring what was lacking in many CSU and UC website listings of off-campus housing.

One of the issues appointed for improvement was the lack of clarity and easy-to-understand price listings.

In fact, many university websites simply show the cost without explaining what type of apartment space the student would be receiving, as well as not showing detailed accounts of where this information comes from.

Another area cited for improvement by the first section of Bill 990 is the inconsistency between the estimated prices of housing listed by CSU and UC websites, and the actual market average.

One example given was that UC Berkeley listed off-campus housing, in the area around the campus, as less than the market average. This would potentially lead to students paying more than they originally planned for, which could hurt the student financially.

The chief issue that connects these points is a lack of accuracy and consistency between each university’s report about off-campus housing.

These are the problems that the bill intends to solve come Feb. 1 of next year.

Andrew Freeman can be reached at [email protected] or at @Andrew_LFreeman on Twitter.

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CSUs now legally have to tell students cost of living off-campus