NewsMaking It In San Diego


Affording college in San Diego with rising cost of living

Posted at 7:34 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 22:51:15-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As the cost of living in San Diego rises, college students have to juggle school finances with an expensive city.

San Diego State University junior D’Jenne Love-Gray said she’s found multiple ways to save money.

The single mom said her biggest expense is her apartment, so her 30+ hours working in hospice and nursing pay for that. In addition, she says she’s not ashamed to pick up time-flexible side jobs like Instacart. Plus, she’s a bargain shopper and doesn’t buy expensive items. Also, she keeps monthly bills low by taking small steps like turning the lights off at home.

For her, all of these small steps add up.

“I’m cheap. I’m really cheap. And that’s how I have money. That’s how I save money is I think the way I do,” she said.

Her goal is to finish her criminal justice degree and become a prosecutor, so that dedication also keeps her motivated.

"My son keeps me motivated but becoming a prosecutor is what pushes me so it’s like I have to. If I want, I have to go out and get it," she said.

SDSU also has programs in place to help students. Chelsea Payne is the Associate Director of the Economic Crisis Response Team(ECRT), a program that helps students with financial needs.

“The overall umbrella is financial support and that can look like immediate food resources, maybe a grocery gift card or a gas gift card. Helping them with a bus pass or it can be larger resources like helping them with their rent or a past due utility bill,” said Payne.

Payne acknowledges that being a student in San Diego can be challenging, and points out that funds for the ECRT have increased, so there are more resources now than ever for students.

Especially right now, we’ve had so much support from the federal state and our university systems to provide emergency pandemic support, so now is the time where we really want students reaching out. And we know it’s hard to ask for help sometimes but our team is here, we’re compassionate, we want to help and we want to get these resources out to students,” said Payne.

SDSU provided the following list of resources for students who may be struggling:

Well-being & Health Promotion continues to deliver one-on-one, group presentations, and online learning opportunities on topics like healthcare, sexual health, nutrition, financial well-being and others. []

The Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT) helps connect students to basic needs resources, like food, housing, and emergency financial assistance, as well as supports students through financial crises. Students can connect with the team at []. ECRT is also in the middle of a 3-year pilot of a Rapid Re-housing program where we support students experiencing homelessness by providing them with rental assistance, housing location, and wraparound case management support. 

The Financial Education Peer Program empowers students to achieve financial independence, increasing knowledge of financial topics, in order to give students the tools needed to have healthy financial habits. []

The Handshake app is a platform from SDSU Career Services that connects students with employers and jobs, internships, event information, and On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) opportunities. []

The Student Financial Center gives students and parents a chance to ask questions via Zoom regarding student accounts and financial aid and scholarships. Established in December 2020, the Center’s mission is to assist our students and parents by providing a single point of contact to resolve questions regarding financial aid, scholarships, and student billing issues. []

CalFresh enrollment specialists are here to help students understand their eligibility for Calfresh and enroll in the program. Calfresh is a great way to increase your food budget and access to healthy food. []

The A.S. Food Pantry operates 3 times a week and students can visit to pick up food as much as needed. The A.S. Food Pantry is supported by the Aztecs Rock Hunger campaign and is a low-barrier resource for students accessing food support.  and []

The Aztec Recreation Center just completed their renovation and membership is now included with student enrollment. We encourage our students to utilize the facility as they look for ways to take care of their well-being. []