By Daisy Olivo
The stereotypical college experience is not the reality for many students across Riverside Community College District.
As students struggle to establish financial independence and make progress in their education, lack of financial resources and affordable housing prove to be the main cause.
Jocelyn Marquez, a student attending Norco College, finds herself stressed over her living situation.
“As a commuter, I choose to live with my parents,” she said. “I don’t have the financial capacity to live on campus or find a place closer to school, especially being part-time at work.”
Each institution in the district provides housing resources to its students, but some believe the college’s guidance is not entirely resourceful.
“There isn’t much help from anyone really except my family when it comes to housing issues,” said Marquez.
Reduced tuition creates opportunities for students to have more spare change for their future living expenses.
“Reducing tuition fees, more affordable housing and prohibiting landlords from upselling and (gentrifying) would help make it easier for students like myself to take the risk and move out,” said Marlene Gomez, a full-time Riverside City College student and part-time associate at Home Depot.
Many students live with their parents throughout college because they cannot afford other housing options.
Some find themselves wanting independence but become stressed because they are not able to afford their desires.
“Living in a dorm is extremely expensive and off-campus housing is so much more affordable, but most of us don’t have a good enough credit score to even consider moving out,” said Ashley Loera, 21, a second-year student who is struggling to find an affordable place to live.
Gomez said she is not able to become a full-time college student because she devotes a lot of time to her job.
“I feel I have more mental strain because I want to be independent despite living at home,” she said. “But my work schedule has often clashed with school, making it hard to even think about anything I want to try and pursue.”
Although there are not many resources that aim to help directly with student housing, other forms of student aid are available to students that may be struggling financially.
The RCCD website provides information to students about Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial resources.