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TEMPLATE: Cost of Living and Basic Needs Departmental Survey
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The Graduate Assembly housing advocacy working group created this survey template for departmental student groups and Graduate Student Affairs Officers (GSAOs) to determine the cost of living for students in their department. Drawing from previous departmental surveys and the advice of students and staffers, this survey assesses housing costs and characteristics as well as the effects of cost of living on housing and food security. Results from this survey should be used to guide your department's policies with regards to financial and administrative support. We encourage you to conduct this survey on an annual basis and to report your findings to both the Graduate Assembly and the Graduate Division. This survey is only a template: please adjust this survey as necessary for your program. For example, students in your department may only spend part of their academic year in the Bay Area or may require additional questions regarding summer income and spending.


IMPORTANT: You must create your own COPY of the survey. To copy the survey: select "Make a Copy" from the menu in the top right corner (three-dot symbol). You should edit the survey to suit the characteristics and needs of your department/program. You may want to consider speaking with department stakeholders to build support for your efforts. Finally, select "Send" to deliver the survey to your department. You can collect email addresses of respondents by going to the settings (gear symbol) and checking "Collect email address," but please notify your respondents if you collect identifying information.

The following departmental policies were cited as helpful by delegates to the Graduate Assembly. We encourage you to brainstorm additional ways to support students (and staff) and to provide these suggestions to the Graduate Assembly, Graduate Division, and any other relevant bodies.

1. Provide incoming students with a guide to finding housing near Berkeley, which can be found here:
2. Provide incoming students with a list of older students looking for new roommates.
3. Solicit student volunteers to host incoming students while they search for housing.
4. Encourage students to find rooms and roommates on the graduate student housing Facebook Group:
4. Provide and publicize a temporary option (e.g. hotel room) for students who face emergency loss of housing due to eviction, rent increase, or other predicaments.
5. Survey students on their housing costs/situation
6. Based on survey results, consider corrective changes in funding such as an increase in stipend or a relocation bonus for incoming students


To make survey analysis easier as well, we've suggested ways to analyze each question and combinations of questions. For example, you'll probably want to know if students are paying more for rent over time, which means you'll need to compare lease date with total rent. Don't be limited by what we suggest! You will have specific questions about your students that merit consideration. Just be sure to consider how students will answer the question and if the answers will or won't be useful.

Q1: (Program) Make sure respondents are from your department.
Q2: (Year) Year of study should be used, in conjunction with other questions, identify trends that will affect newer students more than current students.
Q3: (Income) Costs should be made relative to this stated monthly income.
Q4: (Source) You may want to separate students into separate categories based on funding sources and to note which funding sources require that students take on extra work.

What is your department or program?
Your answer
What is your year of study?
What is your average monthly gross income, after taxes, during the academic year? ($)
Your answer
What is your source of income during the academic year?
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