Commentary: Is University Commons Really Unaffordable?

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by David M. Greenwald

One of the arguments that has been made time and again by opponents of the University Commons redevelopment project is that the developer’s proposal is basically for building unaffordable apartments.

In a comment on Wednesday evening, Eileen Samitz noted that “the actual issues for the many citizens opposing the University Commons project have always been… the unaffordability of the housing (for students or non-students).”

In her lengthy comment she concluded, “This is anything but affordable student housing! The studio apartments are 19% higher than the most expensive studio apartments in the UC Davis annual Apartment Survey, and almost twice as expensive as the average studio apartment in the survey data…”

This was similar to her comment to city council on Tuesday, where she argued, “None of this is affordable if you look at the numbers.”

I highlight Eileen here since she is the most visible, but she is hardly alone in her expressed views about unaffordable housing at University Commons.

What I find interesting is that this argument is not coming from students or renters, it’s coming from people who are long-time homeowners. Many of them moved here decades ago when the cost of housing was much less expensive.

Here is one example: “The housing is really just a mega dorm for students. We do need more housing for students, but this is not the answer. These apartments will only be affordable to the most wealthy students.”

The person graduated from UC Davis in 1977 —43 years ago.

Another person came to Davis in 1970 (50 years ago) as a student and decided to stay, and she writes that it “needs to provide traditional, smaller apartments … which our workforce and families can reside in as well as UCD students … that are actually affordable.”

Another resident of 30 years writes, “This short-sighted, ill-planned, out-of-touch project will not adequately serve the city’s students, families, or shoppers but will further aggravate downtown traffic, parking difficulties, etc. “

Another long-time resident writes: “Looking at the table of proposed rents, I am amazed by how unreasonable they are. Most units are said to be offered at about twice the price of comparable units in Davis. I doubt if they would appeal to teachers, city employees, or service workers who could find many better priced options throughout Davis. It would certainly not be affordable for most students.”

The point of this is not that there is anything wrong with long-time residents expressing their views and there is certainly nothing wrong with long-time residents opposing a project that they believe will be harmful to their neighborhood, but the point I do want to make here is that the people who are arguing that this project are unaffordable are not the people who have been in the rental market any time in the last 20 to 25 years, for the most part.

It has gotten me wondering why the opposition to costs is coming from people who will never have to bear those costs?

The people who actually will are much more concerned with supply than cost.

You never hear a student complaining that the cost of the housing will be unaffordable. And it was not just students making this point on Tuesday.

The vice President of UAW 5810, which represents 1500 researchers at UC Davis, spoke on Tuesday, and was also in favor of the project. He said they supported it “because there isn’t an adequate housing supply in Davis” and “people have to drive from far away, and that’s really expensive.”

The students’ concern is, instead, about supply. You can understand perhaps why. The current crisis with students stuck in leases has its roots in the supply market. Because of the 0.2 percent vacancy, students have to start looking for next year’s housing in January or February and so many were locked into their leases before the pandemic hit.

Many students are having to double and triple up in places in order to be able afford the housing, and in some cases because there isn’t simply enough.

So, many students believe that if there is sufficient housing to get to that five percent vacancy rate, supply and demand will stabilize housing costs.

Second, there seems to be a lack of understanding that new housing is more expensive than old housing. Naturally, University Commons is going to be at the top of the market in terms of costs, and old apartments will be a good deal lower.

That effectively means that high cost is unavoidable for a new apartment. You can’t build an old apartment. The only way to reduce costs are subsidize the apartment rent amount, or to reduce the size of the apartments.

Third, the cost comparisons are not completely apples to apples—more and more places are now baking in the costs of electricity, cable, and internet with the cost of rent.

Fourth, even though the apartments might be more expensive, the students offset those costs with other savings—they don’t need a car, gas, insurance, wear and tear, and parking. They also will save a lot on time traveling to and from campus.

Brett Lee also noted that the costs here are not out of line with what other places are charging.

West Village apartments rent at $2500 for a two bedroom, so “this idea that the market rates are so out of step with the market—I don’t believe is borne out by what we see for the Sterling Units and also for the West Village units.

“Obviously these are more expensive than the average, but this would be just like West Village, and just like Sterling, this would be one of the brand new fancy apartments,” he added.

Finally I would argue that those who are arguing unaffordability are not understanding the law of supply and demand. If the landlord/developer sets the costs too high, they will have vacancy, and the monthly revenue from a vacant unit is $0.  Because most of their costs are fixed, they need to fill their apartments in order for their business to pencil out. That means it is in the self-interest of landlords and property owners to charge the rent that the market will bear.

As long as students and other renters have options on where to rent, that means a five percent vacancy rate rather than a 0.2 percent one, and the market will adjust to cost. If we lack sufficient housing, the landlords get to determine the cost more.

That is probably why students are worried more about creating additional supply—even when some in the community believe we have enough—rather than what those units will actually cost.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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59 thoughts on “Commentary: Is University Commons Really Unaffordable?”

  1. Matt Williams

    This article mixes up two separate concepts.

    The standard for Affordability is that “As a general rule, you want to spend no more than 30 percent of your monthly gross income on housing. If you’re a renter, that 30 percent includes utilities.”

    So, a simple calculation of the Studio apartment rental of $2,229 per month at both University Commons and Sterling means a housing cost of $26,748 per year.  Divide that by 30% and you get an annual affordability threshold Gross Income of $89,160.  How many people looking for a Studio apartment in Davis make more than $89,160?  Certainly the vast majority of UCD students don’t have an annual Gross Income over $89,160.

    None of the points that the article makes actually address that basic reality.  They address other germane issues.

      1. Matt Williams

        There is one other thing that you may want to look at beyond the title, specifically the disconnect between the following two statements in the article:

        “What I find interesting is that this argument is not coming from students or renters”

        and

        “Many students are having to double and triple up in places in order to be able afford the housing”

    1. Keith Olsen

      Studio apartment rental of $2,229 per month at both University Commons and Sterling 

      For a studio apartment?

      Are we talking about S.F?

      Is University Commons Really Unaffordable?

      Sounds like a big fat “YES” if a studio apartment is really going for $2,229.

       

    2. Richard McCann

      University students are a special case on affordability–they look at their FUTURE income when considering certain spending. That’s why they are willing to spend $15k/year in tuition and take out $100,000 in student debt. The Affordability threshold is largely irrelevant for the student population for this reason. I don’t see any reference in this article the Affordability criteria–I only see a discussion of a more qualitative assessment of (a)ffordability. For most students, what is truly (a)ffordable is much more expensive than for a more mature household for which expected future income is already pretty well known. Students have a much higher expected future income and wealth, they know it, and they act on that knowledge.

      So the title is accurate–the problem is the confusion between Affordable and (a)ffordable housing. And David’s article implicitly raises the difference between students and the general populace in current and expected incomes.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        I think that’s a good point Richard. Add to it, when I break my expenses down each month there are bills, and food, and gas, and some incidentals, and savings, and debt service. For a lot of students – the rent includes electricity, cable, and internet. Many don’t drive or they are on their parents insurance. Many are on their parents cell plan. So really they have three categories of expense – rent, food, and entertainment. And some of them are only spending $25 a week on food (we had that story last year). So in many cases, rent may be 90 to 95 rather than fifty percent of their monthly expenditures. THere are a lot of reasons why I didn’t do a quantitative breakdwon of affordability – this is part of it.

  2. Edgar Wai

    Finally I would argue that those who are arguing unaffordability are not understanding the law of supply and demand. 

    A landlord can prefer a certain level of vacancy because they might want to avoid tenant complaints about poor neighbors, avoid eviction costs, or to ensure availability to those renting at full price.

     

    When the supply of wealthy renters is high, there could be a long lasting gap between market rate housing and affordable housing.

    Can you really build houses faster than UCD expands? Is that race to build housing to beat UCD enrollment desirable?

    1. Richard McCann

      The City’s problem is that it allowed itself to fall into a deficit of providing sufficient rental housing and now it’s trying to catch up. The student to City population ratio has trended around 50% since the campus opened in 1958 (I published the data here a couple years ago). The problem arises when we let the ratio rise too high. We have a community obligation to the state to provide a reasonable accommodation for the university and its students because we benefit substantially as a community from the infusion of state, federal and student funds that flow through the university. We need to step up and perform.

      1. Edgar Wai

        We have a community obligation to the state to provide a reasonable accommodation for the university and its students because we benefit substantially as a community from the infusion of state, federal and student funds that flow through the university. We need to step up and perform.

        The flow of obligation should be the State has obligation to act without infringing the rights and sovereignty of the local. Not the other way around.

        The State could continue funding housing to any city or individual willing to supply affordable housing.

        The local community only has the obligation to provide affordable housing to those working in the community.

        It is ethically wrong to place obligations on a local community to address a state issue without funding it.

      2. Matt Williams

        We have a community obligation to the state to provide a reasonable accommodation for the university and its students because we benefit substantially as a community from the infusion of state, federal and student funds that flow through the university.

        If the University were in our municipal jurisdiction so that the state, federal and student funds flowed through the university to the municipal jurisdiction, I would agree with you, but in the case of UCD and the City of Davis the benefit flows to jurisdictions other than the City.

    1. Matt Williams

      Richard, your comments in yesterday’s thread relate to construction costs rather than the affordability of monthly rental rates.

      Your 9:49am puts forward an interesting hypothesis, specifically “University students are a special case on affordability–they look at their FUTURE income when considering certain spending.”   I have never heard that hypothesis before.  Can you provide me with one or more documentation citations regarding that hypothesis?  Or is that your own personal hypothesis?

      1. Keith Echols

        One easy way to think about it is that University Students often take on debt to go to school.  That debt usually goes to service not only tuition but that student’s entire college life for X number of years.  That includes rent.   Students go into debt for their schooling with the (these days more and more mistaken) belief that they will pay off those debts once they get a job after college.

        1. Ron Oertel

          True, but seems to me that quite a few are “catching on”.

          College Enrollment Declines Again. It’s Down More Than Two Million Students In This Decade.

          Florida had the largest decline with a drop of 52,328 students. It was followed by New York (-19,386), California (-19,272), Missouri (-14,869) and Pennsylvania (-14,799). 

           A shrinking population of high school graduates combined with a spate of institutional scandals, widespread anxiety about the costs of college and mountains of student debt, increasing skepticism about the value and necessity of college, growing concerns about the fairness of the admissions process, . . .

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2019/12/16/college-enrollment-declines-again-its-down-more-than-two-million-students-in-this-decade/#1eab35a53d95

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          Don:  It’s projected to decline by about 6% as I recall, over the next decade or so.  (I can probably find that article, if you’d like.)

          However, in a way, the UC system is similar to DJUSD – in that it’s strong enough to poach students from other systems and resist the growth of online instruction (to delay the inevitable). And, there’s a lot of vested interests to help ensure that, for awhile.

          But ultimately, it’s tough to continue growing, in a declining industry.

          1. Don Shor

            Don: It’s projected to decline by about 6% as I recall, over the next decade or so. (I can probably find that article, if you’d like.)

            The article you cited is already wrong about UC Davis. You don’t need to bother posting it again.

        3. Ron Oertel

          I don’t believe that the article which projected a decline is “wrong”, as I don’t think it attempted to do so for each individual year.

          While searching for it again, I just stumbled across this article (and found it interesting):

          However, despite the overall increase in enrollment of California undergraduate students, the number of newly enrolled freshmen and transfer students declined slightly for the first time since 2009.

          I find this paragraph even more interesting:

          “The UCs are charging relatively high prices for nonresident tuition compared to other public universities,” Jaquette said. “How many people are willing to pay $40,000 out-of-pocket to attend a UC?”

          https://dailybruin.com/2020/01/27/uc-sees-record-undergraduate-enrollment-numbers-for-california-residents

          (Though it’s closer to $45,000 at UCD I recall.)

          1. Don Shor

            The UC Davis Long Range Development Plan projects an enrollment increase of 5,175 students by 2030. They can adjust admissions as needed to achieve that. I see no reason to believe they will not achieve it.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Still searching for that article, but also happened upon this:

          “We’re on the edge of the precipice’: How the pandemic could shatter college dreams”

          “The University of California system, Vassar, all public universities in Oregon, and others have announced that they won’t require freshman applicants applying for fall 2021 to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission.”

          So, that’s one way to encourage enrollments, I guess.  But, such efforts may also end up “cheapening” the value of degrees.

          Along with the other problem described in this article (not enough financial assistance).

          https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/12/coronavirus-pandemic-shatter-college-dreams-179509

          1. Don Shor

            The article doesn’t matter. The UC Davis Long Range Development Plan projects an enrollment increase of 5,175 students by 2030. They can adjust admissions as needed to achieve that. I see no reason to believe they will not achieve it.

        5. Ron Oertel

           They can adjust admissions as needed to achieve that. I see no reason to believe they will not achieve it.

          They will be facing increased competition, as other universities (even other UCs) are doing the same thing (in a declining industry, and without enough government support to subsidize that plan).

          They will, however, do their best to resist the overall trend (for their own sake, not necessarily that of students).

          Still searching for the article.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Well, I still can’t find it.  But, it was from last year, and projected a decline of about 6% for UCD later this decade as I recall. (I posted a link to it about a week ago.)

          In any case, there’s lots of articles regarding declining college enrollments (such as this one):

          https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/02/11/new-data-show-drop-applications-university-california-after-years

          Regardless of whether or not individual systems or universities can “buck” the much larger trend, I’d say that this is good news overall, for anyone other than those counting on continued growth as a “plan”.

          1. Don Shor

            But, it was from last year, and projected a decline of about 6% for UCD later this decade as I recall.

            So, since UC Davis plans to add over 5000 students by the end of this decade, that article’s projection is wrong. Therefore I see no reason for you to continue to cite it or suggest that UCD will not grow as UCD plans to grow. These numbers were a major factor in the agreement between UCD and the city and county in 2018. There is no reason to believe that UCD will fail to meet them.

        7. Ron Oertel

          So, since UC Davis plans to add over 5000 students by the end of this decade, that projection is wrong.

          Well, someone is.  I guess we’ll see.

          It’s not totally up to them.

          But even if they’re able to do so, it appears that the days of big growth (even for UC) is over.  As it is, they’re going to have to “poach” students from other systems.

          (Davis is good at that.)

        8. Ron Oertel

          That’s where you’re dead wrong, Don.

          For one thing, non-resident students don’t pay the full cost of their attendance (or even anywhere close to it).  As such, UCD (and all the other UCs) are dependent upon state funding.

          Seems to me that states (including California) are experiencing some fiscal challenges of their own.

          Then, there’s the 18% of non-resident students at UCD who are subject to the $45,000/year in tuition.  Students who actually pay that much have a “choice”, regarding which school to attend (and even which “country” to do so in).

          In any case, demographics don’t lie:

          But the number of students graduating from California high schools is forecast to top out in six years.  And that demographic trend already has hit the nation’s Northeastern states, where birthrates began declining years ago and enrollment has dropped even at elite institutions, such as Princeton University and MIT.

          Then, there’s efforts such as providing 4-year degrees at community colleges (mentioned in one of the articles I reviewed), as well as the effort to increase enrollment at CSU.  For example:

          Gov. Gavin Newsom also has proposed funding a study on building a new Cal State campus, possibly in Stockton.

          Seems like a strange idea at this time, but I’m not the governor.

          https://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-uc-applications-20190131-story.html

          I’m not sure why you’re worried anyway, since Davis approves every megadorm that comes along (regardless).

          But you can be sure that every college across the state and nation doesn’t want to “die”, and will do everything possible to avoid it (including poaching potential students). And again, there is no question whatsoever that college enrollments are dropping significantly (even in California). But, the bigger drop (for California) is still in the future, as noted by the demographic data.

          1. Don Shor

            They control how many applicants they offer enrollment to. They set the standards for who they accept. They can adjust enrollment at undergraduate, graduate, and professional school levels. That is exactly what they are doing this year. They do control how many students attend UCDavis. Completely. I suggest you stop trying to apply generalizations that you are reading about for college enrollment overall to the particular situation at UC Davis. They have whole teams of professionals making sure they meet their goals. They have opened recruitment offices in the past to lure foreign students here.
            UC Davis controls their numbers. They are planning to have over 5000 more students by the year 2030. Whatever you read elsewhere is irrelevant. The LRDP contains that number and it is a factor in the city’s agreement with UCD about how much housing they are going to build.

            That’s where you’re dead wrong, Don.

            I have presented considerable evidence otherwise with respect to the specific numbers for UC Davis.

        9. Ron Oertel

          And none of this even discusses the rise of online learning (which no doubt will also be resisted by universities that want to survive).

          But UC is probably politically-connected enough to stave off some of the inevitable, for awhile.

        10. Ron Oertel

          Whatever you read elsewhere is irrelevant. 

          Well, that’s one way to dismiss it.

          In addition to depending upon state funding (to make up the difference between actual tuition cost, vs. what resident students actually pay), it appears that the UC system is going to increasingly target lower-income students (from what I’m gathering).  As such, their attendance may also increasingly depend upon the availability of financial aid.

          It does appear that the state is making some effort to steer students toward the CSU and community college systems (as noted in some of these types of articles), I presume due to lower cost for the state (compared to UC).

          As far as the agreement with the city to build more housing on campus, I recall that UC only has to pay a minimal amount (to the city, and county) for each unit that they don’t build.

          I suspect, however, that as long as it “pencils out” for a developer to build whatever UCD agreed to on campus, they will do probably do so.  (However, each megadorm that the city approves might make it less-likely that campus housing “pencils-out”.)

          Regardless, it’s naive to believe that large-scale, declining enrollment (across California and the country) is not going to impact the UC system, along with every other college/university system.  It has already begun to do so.

          The only way that UC has been able to largely avoid it so far is by gaining additional funding from the state. (You’ll probably recall that the audits which showed that they had been favoring non-resident students, prior to that point. And, that this might still be an issue, regarding steering such students toward UCs that are not their first choice.)

        11. Ron Oertel

          Correction – steering resident students toward UCs that are not their first choice.

          But, the “good news” is that this corresponds with housing costs that are lower, as well (e.g., housing surrounding UC Merced).

          Though housing surrounding UC Davis (and on campus, I presume) is also pretty cheap, compared to housing that surrounds other UCs and on those respective campuses.

        12. Ron Oertel

          I did find this article, which states the following:

          The state auditor found in 2016 that all of the referred applicants were directed to the bottom-ranked UC Merced, which sees 99% of admitted students enroll at another school. A 2019 state report found that more than 10,000 highly qualified Californian students were referred to Merced and that nearly all of them turned down the acceptance offer.

          https://www.newsmax.com/us/UC-system-california-universities-international-students/2020/07/20/id/978054/

          But, there isn’t much information provided regarding the 2019 report – other than the statement above.

        13. Alan Miller

          more than 10,000 highly qualified Californian students were referred to Merced and that nearly all of them turned down the acceptance offer.

          UC Merced:  The septic tank of the UC system.

        14. Alan Miller

          That was a tiring exchange.  Bottom line:

          RO:  There are cultural/national changes that may significantly change the landscape of college admission, leading to a reduction in enrollment that could effect UCD.

          DS:  UCD has a plan, therefore it will happen according to plan.

          1. Don Shor

            UCD has a plan, therefore it will happen according to plan.

            No, Alan, that is not an accurate summation of my points. UCD controls their admission and fully intends to meet their targets. The process of deciding how many applicants to offer enrollment to, their ability to adjust enrollments across undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, and their ability to attract international students, all give UCD the flexibility needed to meet their enrollment plans. UC Davis has strengths among the UC campuses and in competition with other colleges and universities. Anybody who counts on national demographic trends reducing the total enrollment at UC Davis over the next decade is being naive. Anyone who suggests it as a guide to city planning is being foolish.
            Also, the notion that UC campuses are interchangeable with respect to what they offer incoming freshmen is just preposterous. I was “accepted” at UC Riverside, then the bottom-tier UC campus, when I applied to UC Davis. To an applying ag student, that was pointless.

        15. Matt Williams

          Don, I agree with Alan’s summation.

          Your summation can be paraphrased as follows, “The Donald Trump team controls their reelection campaign and fully intends to meet their target of getting reelected.”

          1. Don Shor

            Your summation can be paraphrased as follows, “The Donald Trump team controls their reelection campaign and fully intends to meet their target of getting reelected.”

            No, Matt. I provided evidence. Want more?
            Applications to UC Davis were down 1% this year. They increased the offers of admission and expect a 5% enrollment increase. That is the mechanism by which they will sustain their plan.

            The University of California, Davis, offered freshman and transfer admission status for fall 2020 to a record 45,820 applicants — including an all-time high of 29,775 California residents.

            The total number of new students admitted for undergraduate study represents a 13.6 percent increase compared with last year, according to statistics released today (July 16) by the university system.

            UC Davis admitted a record 35,838 freshman applicants, an increase of 17.5 percent from last year, and 9,982 transfer applicants, a 1.4 percent increase.

            Based on acceptance of those offers of admission, the campus estimates it will enroll about 9,500 new freshmen and transfer students this fall, a planned increase of about 5 percent from fall 2019, and make gains in the diversity of the incoming class. Total enrollment — including undergraduate, graduate and professional students — is expected to be approximately 39,600. Instruction starts Sept. 30.

            If you, Alan or Ron have any statistical evidence to suggest that UC Davis will have reduced enrollment in the next several years, by all means present it.

        16. Ron Oertel

          If you, Alan or Ron have any statistical evidence to suggest that UC Davis will have reduced enrollment in the next several years, by all means present it.

          I’ve already presented an article which suggests that.  You saw it, and “disagreed” with it.

          A “plan” is also not “statistical evidence”.

          For what it’s worth, I don’t necessarily disagree that UC Davis will pursue increased enrollment (and may be successful in doing so, for a few more years).  But, their “pool of customers” is dramatically reducing, as it is for every other college and university.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “A “plan” is also not “statistical evidence”.”

            Nor is a projection

        17. Ron Oertel

          The decline in college enrollments is.

          A reduction of 2 million across the country as of 2019.

          A reduction of approximately 19,000 in California (per one of the articles cited).  (Not sure of the timeframe of that.)

          Declining birthrates is another.

          (And then, there’s the vulnerability of the non-resident market.)

          You’d think that those concerned about housing shortages would be happy to know this.

          1. Don Shor

            You’d think that those concerned about housing shortages would be happy to know this.

            Not if people are going to use these supposed future trends to argue against housing developments in a town that has a present <1% apartment vacancy rate.

        18. Alan Miller

          The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft a-gley.” — Robert Burns

          Not if people are going to use these supposed future trends to argue against housing developments in a town that has a present <1% apartment vacancy rate.

          That “present” <1% vacancy rate is why students are trying to bail on their leases en masse — because they can’t find housing.  That’s the thing about *plans*.  In pretty much every area right now, things aren’t going according to . . .

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I think you bring up some good points here Alan. One reason students are locked into leases right now is that they had to sign them in January and February due to the low vacancy rate.

            Models and projections can’t take into account exogenous shocks to the system.

            One thing striking to me is that college enrollment projections are being based on birth rates, but what happens if we again liberalize our immigration policies, we probably see an influx of younger people and that could completely alter the projections.

            What does that mean for housing? Plan responsibly.

        19. Matt Williams

          No, Matt. I provided evidence. Want more? Applications to UC Davis were down 1% this year. They increased the offers of admission and expect a 5% enrollment increase. That is the mechanism by which they will sustain their plan.

          No Don, you did not provide evidence.  You provided projection/speculation.  Every year, every college/university the number of offers of admission significantly exceeds the number of students who actually arrive on campus.  The reason for that is simple … students apply to multiple colleges/universities and more often than not receive multiple offers of admission.  However, they can only accept one such offer.  So, lots and lots of offers of admission never result in an actual enrolled student.

          That has always been the case.  Just like a voter who has been solicited by the Trump team to vote Republican can choose not to deliver that vote to the Republicans, a student can choose not to accept UCD’s offer of admission.

          Now in these COVID-19 times students not only have competing offers of admission to weigh/compare, they have the alternative of choosing remote learning rather than on-campus learning.  So the historical ratios of the number of offers of admission to the number of actual on-campus enrollments all have to be adjusted for the new reality we are living through.

          Speculation … it is the best we can do in these uncertain times.  You are forced to speculate.  I am forced to speculate.  UCD is forced to speculate.  Te prospective on-campus students are forced to speculate.  Everyone is forced to speculate.   None of us can provide evidence.

           

           

          1. Don Shor

            They are planning to have over 5000 more students by the year 2030. A possible 1 – 2 year change in acceptance rates by prospective students, caused by the pandemic, can be readily adjusted by the methods I outlined. They have already obviously taken that into account as they settled on the number of offers to make this year, and they will doubtless adjust next year as needed. I have no reason whatsoever to believe that UCD will fail to achieve their objectives. You and Ron have given no compelling evidence that they are likely to fail to achieve their 12-year enrollment goal. They have been very consistent in their planning and have met their enrollment goals in the past.
            So I’m not speculating. I’m making an informed conclusion based on past evidence and the awareness that they have tools at their disposal to meet their objectives.
            The reason I am pressing this point is that the supposed uncertainty caused by COVID-19, and these demographic changes that are being listed, are already being used as excuses to try to curtail private rental housing construction. Maybe when we have sustained a 5% apartment vacancy rate for a few years, we can consider that.

        20. Ron Oertel

          One thing striking to me is that college enrollment projections are being based on birth rates, but what happens if we again liberalize our immigration policies, we probably see an influx of younger people and that could completely alter the projections.
          What does that mean for housing? Plan responsibly.

          What it means is that the country will go bankrupt, if it pursues the path of providing free education and housing for the world.

          And that “goal” would probably contribute to Trump’s re-election.

          “Dreamers” are already here.

        21. Ron Oertel

          But truth be told, David is (as usual) focused solely on students.  The arguments regarding Affordable housing are centered around local workers (whoever they are, as it logically includes those who work on campus).

          In case anyone has forgotten, rent control is actually in effect statewide (as of the first of this year) – which benefits long-term renters.  (Maybe a reason that the megadorm builders don’t want to focus on that group, as students tend to be shorter-term renters.)

          https://la.curbed.com/2019/9/24/20868937/california-rent-control-law-bill-governor

           

           

        22. Keith Olsen

          What it means is that the country will go bankrupt, if it pursues the path of providing free education and housing for the world.
          And that “goal” would probably contribute to Trump’s re-election.

          Ron I agree.  So now Davis has to plan for and keep building more student housing to handle future liberalized immigration?

        23. Ron Oertel

          Keith:  I’m not sure that Davis does, but it sounds like David does.

          Now, if they can get them all to pay $45,000/year in non-resident tuition, that might be a plan. 

          Limiting enrollment to that latter group would probably address a lot of fiscal and financial challenges. 😉 (Somehow, I suspect that this latter group doesn’t bring any sense of entitlement with them.)

        24. Keith Echols

          Ron,

          Now, if they can get them all to pay $45,000/year in non-resident tuition, that might be a plan.

          Hey no problem if we can get them to pay that directly to the city.   But alas…they pay all that money to UCD and then expect the community of Davis to house them.  It’s like paying to go see a concert or game and then expecting the nearby residential community to be cool with all of their parking spots and driveways being used.  Or do ya think the stadiums and arenas could provide parking?

          But as it is the city has to get by on taxing student’s purchases of slices of pizza, burgers and craft boba tea beer.

           

        25. Ron Oertel

          Keith E. – I agree.

          Was just looking at it from the state’s point of view.  No state subsidy (or financial aid?) needed.

          I still don’t know how those folks (non-resident students) pay that much tuition.  I assume that some of them are getting assistance of some type.

          They are 18% of UCD’s students, and would likely be more if there wasn’t a cap on them.  I just don’t see how that can continue. One of the articles I posted above notes that UC charges a relatively high amount for non-resident students (in comparison to other systems, and not necessarily limited to the U.S.).

          We know that there’s a decreasing pool of U.S. “customers”.

          Combined together, it’s just not a growth industry, overall. (And make no mistake about it – it is a “business”.)

        26. Matt Williams

          They are planning to have over 5000 more students by the year 2030. A possible 1 – 2 year change in acceptance rates by prospective students, caused by the pandemic, can be readily adjusted by the methods I outlined. They have already obviously taken that into account as they settled on the number of offers to make this year, and they will doubtless adjust next year as needed. I have no reason whatsoever to believe that UCD will fail to achieve their objectives. You and Ron have given no compelling evidence that they are likely to fail to achieve their 12-year enrollment goal. They have been very consistent in their planning and have met their enrollment goals in the past.

          So I’m not speculating. I’m making an informed conclusion based on past evidence and the awareness that they have tools at their disposal to meet their objectives.

          The reason I am pressing this point is that the supposed uncertainty caused by COVID-19, and these demographic changes that are being listed, are already being used as excuses to try to curtail private rental housing construction. Maybe when we have sustained a 5% apartment vacancy rate for a few years, we can consider that.

          “Planning” — If a lawyer told a judge and jury what his/her client was planning, the opposing counsel would jump up immediately and say “I object … calls for a conclusion!” and the judge would sustain the objection.

          “I have no reason whatsoever to believe …”  — Your beliefs are not being questioned. I wholeheartedly respect your beliefs, even if I don’t always agree with them. However, you appear to be asserting that your beliefs are facts.  That leap of faith is highly questionable.

          “I have no reason whatsoever to believe …”  — Simultaneously, you are clearly stating that Ron is not allowed to “believe” or that his “beliefs” are unworthy.  When you do that you sound like Trump.

           “You and Ron have given no compelling evidence …” — I believe that Ron has been very clear that it is impossible to have evidence for events that will only happen in the future.  You also have given no compelling evidence regarding those events that have as yet not happened.  So, as they say “physician, heal thyself.”

          I believe if you check your copy of Roget’s Thesaurus you will find that the expressions “Speculation” and “informed conclusion” are synonyms.

          “Past Evidence”There is a reason that all financial prospectuses include the following statement, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”

          “Supposed Uncertainty Caused by COVID-19” — If you do not believe that the current level of uncertainty produced as a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic is real, then you are drinking the same Kool-Aid as Donald Trump is drinking.

  3. Keith Echols

    You’re asking why long time residents are concerned about affordability of new projects?   I guess the only reason I can think (from these residents’ possible point of view) is that expensive housing near campus may caused non-students that may have lived in other neighborhoods to live near campus and students looking for housing to live in other neighborhoods..

    I think this highlights lack of understanding at the drivers for affordable market rate housing, student housing and BMR housing.

    People concerned about affordable market rate housing need to understand that new housing is only going to promote the highest and most premium price possible.   No builder (other than specialized affordable housing builders) goes into a project with the goal of selling homes for the current market rate or below.

    If people want significant work force housing, market rate housing, BMR housing or even emergency housing for the homeless; then it’s going to have to come from federal, state, county and city government.  At the local level that kind of significant affordable housing usually comes from controlled strategic economic growth.  I mean you could just slap down another $7oo parcel tax but I think Yolo county may be reaching it’s saturation point for taxing it’s current residents for services.

     

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