California college plans online fall classes, expects students to stick with on-campus housing

Many students can’t afford on-campus housing as a result of the pandemic and would prefer to save money by living at home while classes run online.

But Orange Coast College expects students to continue to pay for on-campus housing and has demonstrated inflexibility concerning lease cancellations.

At one California college, classes have moved online, but students are expected to stick with their housing leases.

Along with the California State University system, California’s Coast Community colleges (Coastline, Golden West, and Orange Coast) have already announced their plans to conduct the fall semester online.  Despite not offering in-person classes, Orange Coast College will charge students for on-campus housing, regardless of whether or not students would choose not to attend based on this announcement. 

Due to financial concerns caused by the coronavirus, many students can no longer afford the expense of on-campus housing. Now, their only hope is to find someone to replace their spot; otherwise, they will have to pay for the full term. 

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OCC provided Campus Reform a letter sent to students explaining that they will only be able to escape their agreements should the university be able to find other students to replace them.

”While your Housing Agreement is not dependent on the format of Orange Coast College or other CCCD classes, we understand that some residents may change their plans for 2020-21 based on the uncertainty of classroom operation this Fall.,” reads the letter. “This market has experienced high demand for quality housing in the past and, if you no longer intend to live with us in 2020-21, we are hopeful that there will be others who wish to join the community in your place.”
”Therefore, if you do not plan to live with us for 2020-21, please let us know promptly.  If we are able to fill all spaces for 2020-21, we will be happy to assign replacement residents in the order these requests are received and will let you know if we are able to re-assign your space,” the letter concludes.

”The school has not been flexible about this current situation, especially when all other businesses are handling payments really flexibly, like airlines and gyms,” OCC student Dabin Oh told Coast Report Online

“I was so disappointed at how the school is not caring for students,” she said. “They only care about money.”

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In recent months, students have struggled to end lease agreements in order to move back home when classes went virtual for the spring semester. However, in many of these situations, students were living in local off-campus housing, so they had to negotiate their contracts individually with their landlords. In this case, OCC is forcing its students to stick with housing that’s hosted by the campus and negotiated through the administration. 

Students who are now trying to back out of their contracts initially signed leases expecting to spend the school year in person. OCC, it appears, will not provide the full college experience but it will hold students responsible to fulfill agreements made in the confidence that the university would act on its part of the bargain.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mariatcopeland