By John Troidl
The majority of off campus and some of the on-campus housing targeting UC Davis students requires applicants for residence to sign a 12 month lease. When I first came to Davis and some students told me about this practice, I was astonished and asked them if they were sure this was true: Maybe they misunderstood the terms of the standard lease because after all these were young people without a lot of experiences with real estate and leasing.
They were correct, it turns out, and they told me about the "Summer Scramble" of trying to sublet their places (with/without landlord permission) to recoup at least some of the lost cash they spent for rent on apartments that they did not need for the Summer. Unbelievable!
It is true that the University has tried numerous strategies to entice students to attend Summer Session and I applaud them for that. However, only about a third of students undertake any type of Summer education at UC Davis. The great majority of students do NOT attend Summer School at UCD. So, the fact remains that the University does not provide nearly enough housing for students that meets their needs for on-campus, no car required, nine month occupancy housing.
In a time when combined student debt now exceeds the total sum of mortgage debt in the United States, this is unconscionable. The University and the off campus landlords who perpetuate this harmful business practice on students and their families should apologize to the students and their families and immediately begin to offer 9 month leases. The University needs to "make a market" for 9 month housing for students so that the "norm in the dorm" becomes a more affordable 9 month lease rather than an overly expensive 12 month lease. Not only would this be a huge economic benefit to students and their families but it might ultimately help raise the shockingly low alumni giving rate that the University suffers from.