SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — A shortage of off-campus housing at Santa Clara University caused dozens of students to camp out for the last four nights to secure a place to live for next fall.

They say it’s the price they say they have to pay to secure affordable off-campus housing.

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“I have put in, like, 12 hours, like, nine consecutive, three overnight,” said SCU student Scotti Morrone. “It’s absolutely awful, but I’m really excited to hopefully get a house.”

Some students started camping out last Thursday.

“Most of us have been spending every night here,” said Steven Tambussi. “And last night, it actually rained. We all got soaking wet.”

The Windermere property management company handles the leasing for dozens of houses and apartments within walking distance of campus, which puts them in very high demand by students.

“We tried doing that over the internet with emails, but at midnight, our servers crashed,” said Windemere Property Manager Myron Von Raesfeld.

Windemere required that leasing had to be done in person, on a first-come, first-served basis starting October 1st.

“Ultimately what happened is they decided they had to be here before that date so they could be first in line,” said Von Raesfeld.

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Santa Clara University has 3,300 on-campus beds for 5,300 undergrad students.

But Robin Reynolds, Santa Clara University’s Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services, told KPIX 5 that there is currently a surplus of on-campus housing.

“Santa Clara University does not have a student housing shortage,” said Reynolds. “We are currently able to offer housing options to all undergraduate students who request it.”

On-campus housing ranges from around $14,000 a year, to $20,000 with meal plans.

Students say it’s cheaper to live with a bunch of roomates off campus, where they have more space and more freedom.

“You don’t have to buy a meal plan, you can cook for yourself and live with a bunch of your friends,” said student Ryan Frost.

But the off-campus housing supply is extremely limited, and students must compete with non-students for a place, which makes the competition for a place to live fierce.

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“It demonstrates the need for housing close to campus,” Von Raesfeld said. “Anything we do that pushes students away will just make the problem even bigger.”