‘Gimme Shelter’: California’s housing crisis forces college students into homelessness
LOS ANGELES – College students are the nation’s most vulnerable population and many turn to homeless shelters for relief. In a city where homelessness is a reality, some students are forced into homelessness due to college loans.
A graduate student in computer science from UCLA said she lost several thousand dollars per month because of her father’s cancer treatment.
In the span of just one year, the 22-year-old woman’s monthly student loan payments increased from about $250 per month to about $550 per month.
In the midst of her struggle with debt payments, the woman decided to attend college and pursue an education.
The program is just one of many that are a part of the increasing strain on California’s housing market.
“It’s very scary for the students who are trying to afford these loans while they’re in school,” said Kate Stever, vice president of the UCLA Foundation.
“Some of them, they have a very close-knit family and they’re trying to work out a way to stay on campus. Some of them are in California or the Midwest. They’re trying to stay in the same place and save for a future home.”
Student loans make up a large part of the California housing market and are expected to continue to grow as college costs continue to rise.
According to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), there were 4.7 million students in the state that graduated in 2016. There are nearly 6.2 million students that paid more than $7,000 in student loan debt or owed more than $30,000 in the prior year.
The average outstanding loan debt for college graduates graduating in 2016 is $29,000, compared to the average outstanding loan debt nationally was $26,000 in 2016.
The CSAC also said there are more than 11,400 students in California that received a deferment of a loan payment due to economic hardship during the 2015-2016