Living in Thousand Oaks is too Expensive for College Students

Kaitlin Rodriguez, Reporter

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For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of living in Los Angeles. Yet once I started college those dreams came to a crashing halt.

I quickly learned that it was impossible to live on my own while being a full-time student, and I’m not alone. The cost of living is so high that it’s unlivable for the average college student, driving myself and others back home to our parents.

According to a 2017 Sallie Mae study, half of college students lived at home.

I almost feel a sort of shame because of this – I feel like I should be able to live on my own and pay my own way.

According to Area Vibes, the average monthly rent for an apartment is $1,896 in the city of Thousand Oaks. In comparison, the national average is only $949.      

On top of taking 18 credits this semester, I am also working three jobs that almost put me at full-time status.

With the minimum wage in Thousand Oaks $11/hour, to afford the average rent you would have to work over four 40-hour weeks, or full time, and all your money would go to rent.

“I first moved out to Thousand Oaks last August and had to get an apartment with a roommate to be able to afford it,” said 20-year-old Thousand Oaks resident Michaela Niedermayer. “The rent for my half is around $1700 with utilities, which in comparison to a lot of places out here isn’t that bad, but I still can’t afford it without help from my parents.”

Niedermayer was a student at Moorpark College last year, but eventually had to drop out to work full time.

“My parents couldn’t help me with rent much anymore and I couldn’t make ends meet while also going to college,” Niedermayer said. “I had to choose if I wanted to continue my education or keep a roof over my head.”

According to the Living Wage Calculator developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, living wage for an individual working full time in Ventura county without children is $14.63 an hour, $3.63 more than minimum wage.

Quite literally, Thousand Oaks for low-income individuals is unlivable. And for lack of more eloquent words- it really sucks. 

The “California dream” has become a “California nightmare.”