UC Merced dorms among costliest in UC system, report says

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A report shows the cost of higher education could be higher for UC Merced students wanting to live on campus.

A Mercury News report report shows that come fall, students at the university could be paying more to live on campus in comparison to living off campus.

Between books and tuition, the cost of college is already expensive, and for students at UC Merced, the decision between living at the school or a couple miles away could mean an extra $8,000 - making it one of the most expensive universities to live at in the state.

It's the newest school in the UC school system and also one of the most expensive for on-campus housing, the campus is quiet while students are on summer break. But when they come back, they could be paying about $16,000 for room and board.

The Mercury News report shows that UC Merced has the largest gap between on and off campus housing out of many other California universities.

The report shows that living off campus costs students about $8,000 dollars which is also about how much they end up saving. Brenda Ortiz is a spokesperson for UC Merced, and she says, along with a room, student's get a meal plan, onsite security and support systems and convenience.

She also says that about 90 percent of students get financial aid to help with housing, and that rate is cheaper for those with several roommates.

"Much of our students are paying much lower and sometimes even nothing," Ortiz said.

She says while off campus housing is calculated by the housing market, on campus rates are based on staff hiring and programs for students and new buildings.

"There's costs involved when you have a building," she said. "So, we're paying the bonds on that. Some students say it's a hefty price tag to pay."

"It's not worth all that extra money," student Meer Mohamad said.

"I probably would've lived off campus if I didn't get the financial aid," Aileen Macias added.

But others say they're paying for the location.

"It's still beneficial to be on the campus, like right now I could wake up and head to class," student James Tamayo explained.

On the flip side, the report shows that CSU Fresno was one of the least expensive universities to live on campus.
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