Sierra College Breaks Ground on Affordable Student Housing with Support from the State of California and Local Donors

April 11, 2023
Digital rendering of three story student housing, showing animated students walking and conversing around the exterior.

Sierra College broke ground today on a campus-changing student housing complex that when completed will provide housing for more than 350 students. Construction of the student housing project is made possible through funding from the State of California and Sierra College general funds. Through careful planning, the monthly rent for most students will be substantially below market rate for the area. Additionally, with investments from members of the community, the cost of housing for students with the greatest need will be significantly decreased, in some cases down to no cost to the student. With the beginning of construction, substantial completion is scheduled for Summer 2025 and expected occupancy for the Fall 2025 semester. 

“Housing is one of the biggest barriers for many students to attend and be successful in college,” said Willy Duncan, Sierra College’s Superintendent/President. “I am excited that the State of California has chosen to invest in housing for community colleges, and that Sierra College will soon be able to provide housing for more than 350 students at rents far below the expensive local market rate. Our generous donors providing investments to further reduce the cost for students with the greatest need will be impactful. This project is more than just a building. It will change our students’ lives.” 

The project is supported by $82 million from the State of California’s Affordable Student Housing grant program. Due to this state funding, the District will be able to charge affordable rents at rates of nearly half the local market rate. The ceremony was attended by Acting Governor, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis who also serves as a member of the California State University Board of Trustees. 

“California’s Community Colleges pave the pathway for millions of Californians to achieve the California dream, but a lack of access to affordable student housing leaves too many students behind,” said Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis. “Thanks to projects like this one at Sierra College, more California students will be able to focus on their education and not worry about where they are going to sleep at night. I’m deeply proud of our state’s historic commitment to supporting the total cost of college attendance for students and ensuring every Californian has a shot at achieving the California dream.”

Sierra College Student Housing Facts: 

  • Current available student housing beds: 120
  • Total number of beds when complete: 358 
  • Square feet: Approximately 124,000 
  • Construction budget: $98.3m 

The new student housing at Sierra College will be a central part of the Rocklin campus, adjacent to the Student Union and Library/Learning Resource Center. In addition to housing, the building will include student support services to increase student success.

The cost to students for residence in the new student housing will be approximately $450 per month. Additionally, with the generous investments of community partners who have participated in the Sierra College Foundation’s Endow-a-Bed program, some beds will be offered at zero cost to qualifying students.

Initial community supporters of this project through the Endow-a-Bed program include: 

“We know that housing and transportation are significant insecurities for many people, including college students, and with this endowment to Sierra College, one student for a year will not have to have worry about where they’re going to be able to sleep and the food they eat,” said Dr. Peter Hull, M.D. Interim CEO and Chief Medical Executive, Sutter Roseville Medical Center. “That’s a tremendous benefit and we’re very pleased to be able to offer that to Sierra College students.” 

“When my father and I decided to open a restaurant together, I went to Sierra College and took an English as a second language class, and the teacher there told me it’s never too late to learn,” said Taro Arai, Mikuni Charitable Organization, Chief Dreaming Officer. “That teacher at Sierra College was right, and since then we’ve been growing and remembering to give back to our community.”

According to ASSC, “Housing insecurity is a real challenge faced by many past, current, and prospective Sierra College students. Through the sponsorship of this endowment of a bed at the dorm, ASSC aims to demonstrate its commitment to providing the resources, services, and support necessary to all students, regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances, and/or financial aid status.” 

About the Sierra College Foundation

Founded in 1972, the Sierra College Foundation (SCF) raises money from private donors to support students, college programs, and the future of Sierra College. SCF does this through events such as Taste of Excellence, the Sierra College Athletics Golf Tournament, grant funding, private donations, corporate donations and planned giving. SCF has grown along with the college and encourages gifts to support students, enhance college programs, faculty support, and facility improvements to ensure student success.

Sierra College Foundation is independently audited and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, most of whom live and work in the communities served by the Sierra Joint Community College District of Placer, Nevada, and parts of Sacramento and El Dorado Counties. For more information about Sierra College Foundation and how to give, visit:

About Sierra College

Sierra College District is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3,200 square miles of Northern California with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four-year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at