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Background and Goals

The University Village Housing and Dining project (UVHD) will construct a 127,000-square-foot traditional student housing community with space for 540 residents along with a 10,000-square-foot dining hall with seating for 320. Ground-breaking for the facility is scheduled for December 2023.   

The project is designed to reduce overall costs for students and thereby increase access to an education at CSUSM. It also will help support the smart-growth and environmental goals of the university and the city of San Marcos by reducing student commutes.   

The project will be funded in part by $91 million that CSUSM is receiving from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature in their $300 billion budget for 2022-23. Of the $497 million being allocated for student housing projects on nine California State University campuses, CSUSM is being given the second-highest amount.  

The UVHD construction comes on the heels of new student housing and dining that opened in 2022. North Commons, which opened for the start of the fall 2022 semester, houses 370 students in the North City development across from CSUSM. Also in North City is the Campus Way Cafe, an 8,000-square-foot, all-you-care-to-eat dining hall, the first at CSUSM.   

The UVHD project will establish a first-year residential housing program geared toward acclimating students to university life. Ample space will be provided for administrative offices, living-learning spaces and community rooms. 

CSUSM will make a commitment to offer available housing at UVHD to low-income students. Fifty-five percent of CSUSM students are first-generation college students, while 44% have an exceptional financial need.  

“We’re excited to bring forward a transformative project that will set a new standard for affordable student residential living, representing a significant step in addressing student basic needs and helping our students of all backgrounds thrive academically and personally,” CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt said. “Student housing is an integral part of the student experience, and it can have a profound impact on academic and lifelong success. This project will ensure that more future CSUSM students will have that opportunity – a key component of our institutional mission of student success." 

CSUSM is experiencing tremendous demand for additional housing, especially due to the high cost of living in the San Diego region. Off-campus housing costs have made local housing unattainable for many, especially underrepresented minorities and first-generation students. An institutional demand study revealed an ongoing demand of 571 beds based on current enrollment and a projected demand of 868 beds based on an increased enrollment of 20,000 students.   

For many students, however, a true residential experience is often viewed as an option only for those with the financial means to make it a reality.   

“Students should never have to decide between paying for rent or school supplies, or decide which utilities or basic needs they can live without while pursuing their dreams of becoming a teacher, nurse, scientist or entrepreneur,” said Jason Schreiber, CSUSM’s Dean of Students. “This new project will result in a clear public benefit, providing low-cost student housing and reduced rents so that students can focus their attention where it matters: their hopes and dreams for the future.”