Why is a project like this needed?

Currently, UC Santa Cruz houses just over half of students on campus – the highest percentage of any campus in the University of California system. Despite this, and in light of how impacted the off-campus Santa Cruz area housing market is, we need to do more to offer affordable options and appropriate housing for our students.

The current percentage of students housed on campus has been achieved, in part, through the densification of our existing housing facilities beyond the intended design capacity, severely impacting the quality of life and educational experience of students currently living on campus. Upper division students today have limited options for residing on campus and thus are generally forced off campus into the surrounding community.

In order to foster better housing security, a deep connection to the campus and student body, and position students for the utmost success, we are committed to expanding residential options and capacity on campus.

Rent Trend Data, Santa Cruz, California, Rent Jungle, 2015-2018

Overall Vacancy from 2012-2017, Central Coast MarketBeat



Several compelling factors have coalesced to create an urgent need for a large-scale housing project at UC Santa Cruz. These include:

  • The sheer magnitude of existing unmet demand for on campus housing by students already attending UC Santa Cruz;
  • The need to replace existing, functionally obsolete family student housing and early Education Center;
  • The increasingly challenging off-campus rental housing market; and
  • To ensure the campus continues to adhere to the requirements of the 2005 LRDP and its 2008 Comprehensive Settlement Agreement where the university agreed to provide housing to accommodate 67% percent of new-student enrollment above 15,000 within four years of reaching that enrollment level.


The charts to the left help illustrate two key factors in Santa Cruz: rising rental prices and decreasing vacancies. For every ten people that move to the Santa Cruz area, only one additional housing option is added to existing housing inventory. These factors contribute to very little housing being available at modest prices for our students. SHW addresses these issues and also provides a new option for Family Student Housing. The SHW project also expands the existing child care program to include services for employees – a benefit that is available at all other UC campuses.