San Diego City College / File photo by Megan Wood

San Diego area community colleges are getting into the housing game. Or at least they’re planning to. Earlier this month it was announced that San Diego City College received a $344,000 state grant to conduct a feasibility analysis for a proposed 13-story student housing facility at 16th and B streets, on its downtown campus. 

The proposed facility would be reserved for registered City College students and contain 209 units capable of housing 613 students. John Parker, vice president of administrative services at City College, told KPBS that rent would be below market value, and priority would be given to low-income students. Southwestern College also received nearly $1 million in state grant funding to perform similar analyses on potential affordable student housing on its four South Bay campuses.

In a March 28 San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed, San Diego Community College District Chancellor Carlos Turner Cortez and Board of Trustees President Maria Nieto Senour wrote the district is working to create an affordable housing strategy that loops in each of its campuses, local and state government agencies, housing advocates and more. 

The two wrote that developing affordable housing specifically for community college students, who are generally lower income, is particularly critical. And doing so could ultimately help with regional sustainability goals by reducing the number of cars on the road. 

Student housing has been a priority for Cortez since the beginning of his tenure as chancellor. In a July interview with Voice of San Diego’s Will Huntsberry, Cortez argued the district could potentially even make money from the construction of student housing, and that all they needed was the funding.

But, as Cortez and Nieto Senour wrote in the op-ed, “while the SDCCD does not have significant funding to build new housing, what it does have is real estate at 10 campus locations across San Diego.”

Jakob McWhinney

Jakob McWhinney is Voice of San Diego's education reporter. He can be reached by email at and followed...

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1 Comment

  1. This is Daniel Smiechowski a candidate for SDCC D2 with a 57-year history involving our beloved local community colleges. Such a wonderful idea and certainly a sign of the times. The ever so demanding Wizard of ID would be so proud. As a D2 candidate with my college Mesa in the fold, this proposal has my blessing. Volunteer 858 405 5118

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