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Saturday, February 4, 2023
HomeCal Poly HumboldtCal Poly Humboldt - Expansion

Cal Poly Humboldt – Expansion

Cal Poly Humboldt’s figures show an increase of more than 6,000 students over the next 8 years, and they’re only building 2,300 dorm beds.  This is an increase of over 3,500 students without any known housing.

[Note:  This article was published in May, 2022. An increase in 6,000 students does not necessarily mean that we will see 6,000 students in Arcata. Because it is more cost-effective (i.e. profitable) to have students “attend” the university remotely and learn via on-line lectures and such, it is likely that the university will promote remote attendance for new students. The university may also promote the re-use of previously-recorded lectures, thus reducing the need for faculty. The numbers of faculty, staff, and ancillary “job multiplier” persons could be fewer than shown in this article, but not by much.]

  • Will building 1,000 apartments in the Gateway area substantially help?  Or would 1,000 apartments just get filled more or less “instantly”?
  • And an increase in faculty and staff of 700-1,200 people — Where will they live?
  • Could Gateway apartments possibly lower the cost of housing, as more housing units are constructed? Or will it mainly be market-rate housing — that is to say, expensive ?

What’s happening with our Humboldt State University?

Humboldt State University is now officially Cal Poly Humboldt.  The university has major plans to expand over the next decade.  Here are some summary images from the “Humboldt State University — Polytechnic Prospectus” dated September 1, 2021.  (The full prospectus is in this article, below.)
Info in blue has been added for clarity.

How many students will be here ?

As you can see, the “Full Time Equivalent Students” in the Fall of 2015 was 8,790.  This is believed to be a peak enrollment at Humboldt State University.

This had dropped even before the effects of the Covid pandemic to 6,431 in the Fall of 2019 — a decrease of over 2,300 FTES.  (The first instance of Covid in California was late February, 2020.)

By Fall of 2022 the figures are projected to be back to the pre-Covid number, and within three years the projections show a figure (9,064) higher the Fall 2015 peak number (8,790).  Over the next five years the figure continues to rise to approximately 3,000 FTES higher (12,132), relative to the the 2022 figure.

There is a correlation between the “Full Time Equivalent Students” (based on 12 academic units) and what’s called the “unduplicated head count” or the actual physical number of students.  Officially there are about 6.5% more students than the FTES figure, although anecdotally it seems that there are plenty of students here in Arcata who are taking fewer than 12 units… and take longer than 4 years to graduate.

A 6,000 increase in students corresponds to an increase in faculty and staff of 700-1,000 employees — plus spouses/significant others, children, other family members.

These people will need housing as well.

How many Faculty and Staff ?

In Fall 2021, the then “Humboldt State University” had 1,126 faculty and staff, full and part- time (data source) with a student FTES population of 5,739 (data source).  Cal Poly San Louis Obispo employment was 2,815 with a student FTES of 22,028.  CSU Bakersfield employment was 1,288 with a student FTES of 10,624.  The ratio of faculty and staff to FTES students is a wide range of 12-20%.

As Cal Poly Humboldt expands with more students, new classrooms, more classes, etc., the number of faculty and staff will increase as well.  

What’s the size of this increase?

While the Cal Poly FTES figure from Fall 2021 (5,562) to Fall 2030 (12,132) represents a more than doubling of the Full Time Equivalent Students, it is not so great a percentage or numerical increase over the peak 2015 figure.  The increase from 2015 to 2030 is about 3,300 FTES, or about 38%.  The increase from 2022 to 2030 is about 6,200 FTES, or about 105% — more than double the number of students.

And how many dorm beds is Cal Poly Humboldt adding ?

From Page 76 of the Prospectus.

The figures show there’ll be 2,500 or 3,000 students without any known housing.

The total number of added beds through 2028 is about 2,200.  The total number of added FTES students from the 2021 or 2022 figures will be in the order of 5,300-5,500, or close to 6,000 actual humans.  

Even in 2022 there is a housing shortage at Cal Poly Humboldt for on-campus housing.
The housing market in Arcata is already extremely tight and limited.  A landlord with a studio apartment for rent can receive 100 — or more — requests for housing for a single apartment.


Will the University expansion create other jobs?

As Cal Poly Humboldt adds 1,000 paid faculty and staff, there will be an additional 2,000 or more jobs added to the wider community (i.e. Arcata, Eureka, McKinleyville, Blue Lake, etc.)

Any population increase does not stand alone.  It is estimated that for every increase of 100 jobs in education jobs, there will be an increase of an additional 180 to 230 jobs.  This is the well-established job multiplier effect, valid when an employer increases (or decreases) its employment.

There’s a wide range of jobs that make up a community:  Schoolteachers, haircutters, baristas, auto repair, police, construction, lawyers, medical workers, retail, City staff, bicycle repair, food store personnel, garbage collectors, babysitters — everyone who works in any way and is a part of the overall community.  Everyone is affected.

The official UC Santa Cruz job multiplier is 213  — that is, for every 100 jobs at the UCSC, there are an additional 213 jobs in the community.
January 19, 2021– UC Santa Cruz economic impact provides foundation for thriving region — A new economic analysis found that more than 18,000 jobs can be directly linked to UC Santa Cruz, generating $892.5 million in labor income.
Of the 18,021 regional jobs that the campus generates, as of April 2020, 8,266 were directly related to campus operations, including 2,928 academic and 5,338 staff positions, which include 2,562 student staff.

  UC Santa Cruz employment and local jobs
Direct campus operations
    18,021 Total regional jobs
    = 12,267 Indirect jobs = 213 Indirect jobs per 100 University jobs

In terms of the impact of Cal Poly Humboldt on the wider community, we can expect to see 6,000 students + 1,200 faculty and staff + 2,400 people with indirect jobs.  That’s over 9,600 new people introduced to our area — or more. 

When is this supposed to happen ?

And it’s all supposed to happen in the next 8 years.

  • 6,000 students
  • 700 – 1,200 faculty and staff
  • 2,000 additional jobs in our community.

Any questions?


Other information:

Lostcoast Outpost “A Look at Cal Poly Humboldt’s Five-Year Infrastructure Plan”
March 22, 2022

Times-Standard “Cal Poly Humboldt name official, first polytech in NorCal
University aims to double enrollment in 7 years”
January 26, 2022

North Coast Journal “Introducing Cal Poly Humboldt”
February 3, 2022
or see here, search for colleges or universities



Below is the 143-page Polytechnic Prospectus from September, 2021