The off-campus housing support program started in October 2022 offers resources to Cal Poly students transitioning to off-campus living in the San Luis Obispo area. 

The program advises prospective tenants to be informed of their rights and responsibilities. On the program’s website, advice includes budget recommendations, roommate agreement templates, and suggested questions to ask landlords about a property. 

“Every year we hear from students, especially third- and fourth-year students, that securing off-campus housing is one of the biggest challenges they face,” Dean of Students Joy Pedersen said.

Pedersen also notes that the rising cost of housing poses complex challenges for students, especially low-income and Pell-eligible students. 

Sarah Bacio, the coordinator, feels the program allows students to feel supported.

“Students can benefit from knowing that someone is here to support them, answer their questions, and provide them with resources before, during, and after renting,” Bacio said in an email. 

Sarah Bacio, Cal Poly’s off-campus housing coordinator. Credit: Cal Poly News | Courtesy

Since Bacio was named coordinator in October 2022, she revitalized an asynchronous “Educated Renter’s Certificate Program” which is available through students’ Canvas accounts.

According to Bacio, 125 students completed the program this academic year. After completing the program, students are offered a certificate which they are encouraged to show prospective landlords to demonstrate their awareness of tenant rights and responsibilities.  

Bacio plans to expand online and in-person resources including workshops and community-building events. In particular, Bacio is working toward a new “Off-Campus Housing Marketplace” website where students can find potential roommates, subleases and available rentals. The date the website will be published is not available at this time. 

“While there is much to be done to address local and statewide housing issues, this program is a way to start helping students navigate the competitive rental market and to support students who are struggling to secure affordable housing,” Pedersen said.

Before her role in the off-campus housing support program, Bacio graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt, where she served in career advising roles before serving as coordinator of the Cal Poly Scholars program in 2021. 

The resources led by Bacio and the off-campus housing support program are free to Cal Poly students. For more information visit the program’s website or contact