Undergraduate Petition Supporting a COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) at UCSB
This is a petition soliciting undergraduate support for the graduate students at the University of California, Santa Barbara advocating for a COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) to bring us out of rent burden. According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, "rent burden" means paying 30 percent or more of your take-home pay to rent, and extreme rent burden is paying 50 percent or more. At UC Santa Barbara, the situation is dire: a typical teaching assistant pays 51 percent of their wages to housing costs at average rates. This is a statewide issue, and seven of the nine UC campuses are now actively organizing COLA movements to force their campus and the University of California to address it.
At UC Santa Barbara, graduate students are often living paycheck to paycheck. Many work multiple jobs on and off campus (in addition to teaching and research) in order to make ends meet. Many experience homelessness, sleep in their cars, face food insecurity, or struggle to support their family. We are expected to work in service of the university while the institution fails to adequately compensate us for the labor we perform. Graduate students cannot work to support undergraduate education to the best of our ability if we are struggling to cover our basic needs at the same time. This is the reality for too many graduate students at UC Santa Barbara and across the UC system, and it is unsustainable.
A COLA is more than a raise: it is a structural commitment from the institutions that our labor supports to make our lives possible in return.
The University of California is a public institution that should serve the people of California. Yet it charges undergraduates exorbitantly high tuition, which many can only meet by taking on massive student debt. Like graduate students, many undergraduates face housing and food insecurity and struggle to maintain their physical and mental health as a result. For this reason, one of our COLA demands to the university administration is that our COLA cannot come from raising student tuition, fees, or rent for on-campus housing. We're asking for your support to make UC Santa Barbara a livable place for all students.
As undergraduates, your support is essential to our success. Signing this petition means you support the right of graduate students to advocate for a COLA that brings them out of rent burden. This petition is merely asking for your support as we negotiate with the university administration.
What is a COLA? Why do we need a COLA at UC Santa Barbara? How did the COLA movement start? What are graduate students living and working conditions like? How can I support the COLA movement?
Find out more with our COLA FAQ:
See our COLA demands, presented to the UC Santa Barbara administration on February 10th, here:
We are working on specific documents geared toward undergraduates, so check our website (
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Will you add your name to a petition supporting graduate students advocating for a COLA (Cost-of Living Adjustment) to bring us out of rent burden?
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at any time. We have an Undergraduate Outreach Committee ready to answer all undergraduate questions and concerns.
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