It is no secret that the cost of living in California is expensive — and it’s even worse for community college students.

According to the 2019 Point in Time Final Report for Orange County, there was a 43 percent increase in homelessness from the previous two years. Cities within Orange County are often seen on lists from real estate companies as some of the most expensive places to live in the entire country.

It is mandated by the state of California to have a minimum wage of $12 an hour if a company employs over 26 employees. A fair majority of college students who are employed fall into the category of people working minimum wage jobs.

With 12 units being the minimum for full time students, a requirement to receive aid, many students can’t support themselves financially.

For athletes on Orange Coast College’s campus, there is even less time for them to be in the workforce.

On top of being a full-time student, student-athletes also spend multiple hours a day at their respective practices, and then for most sports, games at least twice a week. For the students from out of state, or unable to live at home, the student-athletes are among those who must enter the workforce and find a place to live.

Apartments in the Costa Mesa area, and the upcoming on-campus units at The Harbour, range anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 a month. These prices do not include food and other necessities, like laundry.

The Coast Report Editorial Board commends OCC for attempting to help its students with the introduction of on-campus housing due to open in the fall, but fails to see how it can help students who are struggling.

Housing isn’t the only issue for students, they also must find ways to feed themselves.

On campus at OCC, the Pirates’ Cove has provided students with free meals, clothing and as of recently, even sleeping bags.  

Every week at Pirates’ Cove, new groceries are stocked and are available on a first come first serve basis. With the Cove being just outside of the Coast Report’s newsroom, the Coast Report Editorial Board gets a firsthand look at how many students have benefited from the program.

Each week, the lines have gotten longer and longer, which could mean anything from word of mouth or just to help more and more people put food on the table for them and their families.

With everything that the college has done to try and limit hungry students, they can only do so much. The California Community College Athletic Association has implemented numerous bylaws to limit how much the college can help support its athletes.

At a four-year college, student athletes can receive scholarships based on their athletic abilities, however, at the community college level the only way to receive financial support is based on educational achievement. When an athlete must give so much of their time to the sport and their education, the time allocated to work has been significantly decreased.

Because of the CCCAA’s strict bylaws, the coaches at OCC must sit back and watch their athletes struggle and can do nothing about it.

With the introduction of SB 206, more commonly known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, the NCAA will no longer be able to revoke a scholarship to an athlete for accepting money. The bill, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, will go in affect Jan 1, 2023.

The Coast Report Editorial Board urges the CCCAA to implement a form of legislation to support and protect its athletes like their peers in the higher levels.

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