Housing insecurity and basic needs: Unaffordable housing costs and insufficient salaries

According to researchers in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the required annual income for one individual with no children residing in Riverside County must be at least $39,411 to be able to pay for housing, medical, transportation, and other costs of living. The average academic student employee earns around $25,000-30,000. The average rent in the City of Riverside is $2,074, with the University neighborhood averaging to $2,203

In February 2022, 61.5% of surveyed graduate students at UC Riverside reported that they pay 30% or more of their income toward housing costs. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development define rent burden and severe rent burden as paying more than 30% and 50%, respectively, of household income toward housing.i By this definition, many UCR graduate students are considered rent burdened. In another survey, over 90% of UCR graduate students are rent burdened.


Fifty-six percent of UCR graduate students surveyed reported that their income comes from academic employment in UCR as associate instructors, teaching assistants or graduate student researchers. Thus, graduate students employed by UCR perform vital duties that keep the university functioning with regards to cutting-edge research and educating undergraduate students, all of which impact the growth of the local and national economy. During the academic year, graduate students are only allowed to be employed part-time (50%) by the university. Teaching assistants at UCR earn up to $2,582.95 and graduate student researchers can earn up to $2,320.07.


According to researchers in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the required annual income for one individual with no children residing in Riverside County must be at least $39,411 to be able to pay for housing, medical, transportation, and other costs of living. The average academic student employee earns around $25,000-30,000. The average rent in the City of Riverside is $2,074, with the University neighborhood averaging to $2,203. The burden of rent and an unlivable wage for graduate students poses not just a barrier to completing degrees, but also affects teaching and research performance in the UCs, as well as the public and private sectors.


Sources:

i https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/assessing-the-severity-of-rent-burden-on-low-income-families-20171222.htm

ii https://uaw2865.org/2022-bargaining-campaign/bargaining-survey-results/fbclid=IwAR020WHj89IrliZ1Y4RaYPU-hC8UE_7Mz27o-fDPpWH6ixYQDx9wHI13VfE

iii https://graduate.ucr.edu/graduate-student-employment#gsr_salary

iv https://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/06065

v https://www.rentcafe.com/average-rent-market-trends/us/ca/riverside/


For more education about the topic, you may read materials prepared by Gwen Chodur, UCGPC President '21-'22 and Francois Kaepellin, UCGPC Legislative Director '21-'22


Want to share your experiences and be in community with fellow graduate students across the UC system? Attend the upcoming Graduate Summit on November 5!


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