Santa Rosa Junior College applied for $15 million in state funding that could drop rent prices as low as $700 per month for the new student dormitory housing project on Elliot Avenue.
If approved, the state funding would come from Governor Gavin Newsom’s $2 billion higher education budget for California colleges, with $500 million designated for the construction or renovation of student housing.
“We have a good chance of getting that funding, because we have a project that’s ready to go and meets all the requirements they’re asking for,” said Pedro Avila, SRJC vice president of student services.
Without funding, a dorm room is estimated to cost $1,138 and $918 for single and double occupancy per month, respectively. If approved, 70 of the 382 rooms could be subsidized, lowering rent costs to $789 and $688 respectively. These rooms would be designated for students who may be low income, homeless, emancipated minors or foster youth.
Students will be prioritized based on enrollment, financial aid eligibility and academic standing. The student housing work group established the following priority list for student applicants:
1. Foster youth, disabled students, active military, veterans, EOPS, CalWORKs, and current or former homeless students
2. International students and student athletes
3. New students
4. Continuing and returning students
Students taking 12 or more units will be in the first tier, and students taking between six and 12 units will be in a second tier, but both tiers will follow the same priority.
While the state funding request has yet to be approved, SRJC has already received a grant from the Kaiser Foundation for $1 million.
“That million dollars from Kaiser will go toward the construction costs, so as we lower construction costs, we can then lower the rents for our students,” Chong said.
It will be at least another month before the state responds with how much funding is approved for SRJC.
“We’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed that we will get that money,” Chong said.
SRJC’s student housing endowment is also accepting donations that will go toward additional rental assistance for low-income students, with two donations already totaling $115,000.
The endowment has a $2.5 million goal by Fall of 2023. For more information or to donate, contact J. Mullineaux at 707-527-4797 or [email protected].
Student housing is expected to open in August of 2023, with leasing information available as soon as September 2022.
Additional reporting by Michael Combs.