Many students said staying through winter break is burdensome to international and out-of-state students due to high costs.
UCLA Housing charges $75 for students to stay on the Hill for one night after fall quarter finals, and $1,105.00 to stay over winter break. Members of the International Student Resource Task Force met with UCLA Housing fall quarter to discuss the possibility of lowering costs for the service. The task force is part of the Undergraduate Students Association Council General Representative 1 office.
UCLA spokesperson Katherine Alvarado said the $1,105 fee is the minimal cost needed to cover the limited operational staff, supplies and services that students need while staying over break. Alvarado said 95 students chose to stay through for winter break this academic year.
Ayesha Haleem, USAC general representative 1, said while she understands the logistical difficulties of allowing students to stay through the break, she hopes that UCLA Housing can reduce the stay-through costs for students.
Alvarado said UCLA Housing will work with students who need, but cannot afford, to stay on campus through break. This would involve working with a financial aid counselor to evaluate students’ eligibility for increased financial aid or creating a plan of long-term, smaller payments.
However, Alvarado said many international students are not eligible for financial aid, and would not be eligible for any additional funding.
Housing policy requires residents submit proof of travel arrangements or a Friday night final in order to be allowed to stay over an extra night after fall quarter finals week. Haleem said she thinks having to even apply to stay on the Hill is an inconvenience for international and out-of-state students.
“When you are signing the housing contract you don’t initially think it will exclude the winter break or the couple days after finals, which means for that time you cannot stay in the only place you have in LA,” Haleem said.
Haleem said she thinks requiring students to check out at 8 a.m. Saturday morning is too extreme because some people make travel arrangements for later in the day far in advance, and do not have anywhere to go after checking out of the Hill.
“Even hotels don’t make you check out until 10 or 11,” Haleem said.
Parth Agrawal, a first-year engineering student from India, said he was debating whether to go home or stay on the Hill over break, until he realized how much it cost.
“Going back to India was really expensive but the cost of staying here was equal to my flight,” Agrawal said.
Agrawal added he had to come back to campus a day before the residence halls opened for winter quarter due to flight arrangements. He said he thought paying $75 for one night was ridiculous.
Students said that the limited services on the Hill made life more difficult during the stay-through. Housing offers two meals a day at Cafe 1919 and closes all dining options for two three-day periods during Christmas and New Year’s.
Timothy Chung, a first-year psychology student who stayed on campus over winter break for work, said while he understands it may be difficult to reduce stay-through costs, he thinks international and out-of-state students should not have to pay this much because they already pay a lot in tuition to UCLA. He said he hopes there can be a way to help improve the experience while keeping costs low.
International and out-of-state students pay $28,992 more in tuition than in-state students.
Haleem said she hopes Housing will understand that costly and strict move-out and stay-through procedures can make international and out-of-state students feel like they don’t have a place at UCLA.
“UCLA is their home and there isn’t an alternate space that these people can be,” Haleem said.