Record Demand for Fall 2012 Co-op Housing

With college tuition, Bay Area housing costs, and food prices all rising rapidly, record numbers of students have been turning to the Berkeley Student Cooperative to save money on housing and food in 2012s.  To meet this need, students on the Board of Directors has been working with the membership to increase capacity and make expansion of the Co-op system a priority.

Summer 2012 membership exceeded Board estimates, with over 95% of available spaces occupied.  Food service was also added to more houses.  Presently, for Fall 2012 the BSC is 100% full with a waitlist of nearly 500 students, the highest ever.  Low cost was cited as the #1 reason members chose to live in the Co-ops in a 2012 survey.

To ensure that students with the greatest need for affordable housing are able to enter the Co-ops, students in UC Berkeley's Educational Opportunity Program (first generation college student, CA resident, and family income below the Pell Grant eligibility threshold) and students with disabilities are given priority.  Presently, 32% of BSC members are in the EOP program and another 5% receive Pell Grants.  At Rochdale Village, where rents are as low as $433 a month with utilities, 80% of members are in the EOP program.

Keys to the Co-op's affordability include member workshift, energy conservation, and bulk buying.  Members contribute 5 hours a week on housekeeping, management, and other tasks ranging from food delivery to serving on the Board of Directors.  Sherman Hall reopened this Fall after a 3-month earthquake retrofit renovation that included energy efficiency and insulation upgrades.  Our Operations Committee will be focusing this year on revising procurement practices to further save money.

Members who are interested in living the BSC are advised to list all houses in their application to ensure the greatest opportunity of placement.  The BSC also anticipates that some vacancies will open up for the Spring semester when current members graduate early or study abroad.

Comparison of BSC rates versus university dorm housing and private apartment buildings.  Data from Cal Housing and City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.