Graphic by Cheyenne Wise
Graphic by Cheyenne Wise

The rising cost of visiting Humboldt

Over-charged and over it: students' families struggle to find accommodations

by Cheyenne Wise

As May is fast approaching, so is the dreaded inflation of renting in Humboldt. During the year you can get a hotel room or rent an Airbnb for a couple of bucks. On spring graduation weekend, hotel rates double and even triple in price.

It’s not something uncommon in Humboldt but usually, high prices make it hard to find a place to rent. It’s an opportunistic extortion to get college students to overpay for rundown places. Housing is first-come, first-serve but to take advantage of people who don’t have money is gross.

For some people, this is the first and only time they can make the trip to Arcata, and it’s to see their family member graduate which is an incredible opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Just checking the hotels near campus the usual cost of a hotel room for two people is at most $150 at any point during the year. But when you look at the same exact hotels during the week of graduation is $600 for two people a night.

At Cal Poly Humboldt, about 78% of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid. That’s 78% of people whose families might not have the ability to see them walk across the stage and be handed their diplomas. Hotels and Airbnb hosts take advantage of people who want to support their loved ones.

Forget peoples’ families for a second. What about the people who are graduating and haven’t lived in the area for some time because of the pandemic, who are trying to find a place to stay so they can be there for their own graduation? It’s not just the issue of finding a place to stay. The prices of buying a cap and gown are so high for something you will only wear once and not for a long time. I guess you could say the same thing about a wedding dress, but even those are absurd.

Maybe I’m just someone who likes to count pennies and is a bit of a pessimist, but the price of graduating is excessive. We’ve already shoveled a bunch of money into the burning money pit of college so it would be lovely to be able to step away from the flames and not have to worry.

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