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UCSD Retirement Community (UCSD-RC) Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I receive a survey about UCSD-RC?

The proposed UCSD-RC prioritizes admission to persons who are affiliated with the University of California San Diego. You were identified as one such affiliate, i.e. faculty/staff (active or retired), alumni, and "friends" of the campus.

Who can I contact with questions or concerns about the survey?

This initiative was authorized by the Emeriti and Staff Associations and includes representatives from both groups. The members of the UCSD-RC Work Group investigating the feasibility of a UCSD retirement center are listed in the cover letter of the survey. Taking the lead are the Work Group’s co-chairs: Professors Jeanne Ferrante (Engineering) and Cecil Lytle (Music) They and other members can be reached at the dedicated email address:

When and where will the survey results be available?

It is anticipated that the results of Phase I of the market survey will be made public in late Spring 2020


General Info


Have any decisions been made on going forward with UCSD-RC?

The Phase I market survey commenced in March 2020. The intent is to gauge the interest of likely residents/participants in order to help determine the feasibility of establishing an on-campus intergenerational residential community for senior retirees. Quite frankly, the first and second survey processes are undertaken to determine if there is enough interest from the pool of likely residents to ensure that the facility would be self-sufficient enough to pay for itself.

What are the next steps?

The Phase I survey, commencing March 2020, includes market and demographic studies designed to gauge sufficient interest. Our desire is to proceed carefully. Consequently, if the Phase I survey indicates market need, a more in-depth Phase II study will follow aimed at gathering information to help shape the project. Further, focus groups will help determine the size, shape, and context of the most marketable housing and services that could be offered, both now and in the future. The focus of this research will be on independent living. It will sample preferences of current cohorts, but will also consider the next generation that would be likely to use a UCSD Retirement Community. Cohorts to be surveyed include retired faculty and staff, alumni, and “friends” of UCSD. The survey will collect preferences including those on floor plans, contract types, pricing of entrance fees and monthly service fees, and community lifestyle features (amenities). Reports on Phase I and Phase II surveys will inform future planning aimed at establishing a UCSD-RC.

Will future UCSD funds be used for the UCSD-RC if it goes forward?

The UCSD-RC must be independent of campus resources and be self-sufficient, depending solely on residents’ fees.

What does UCSD gain by having an associated retirement community?

UCSD Emeriti and retirees’ presence on campus can enhance the student experience via mentoring, tutoring, seminars, and other services to the campus community. An on-campus senior residence allows researchers on aging and wellness to have a stable community of nearby residents, hopefully, opting-in on biomedical, social science, and engineering studies on aging. Additionally, the presence of the UCSD-RC will enhance the quality of life for UCSD affiliates by allowing current faculty and staff to locate their aging parents in a nearby community of active learners.
For the campus, more broadly, reaps multiple benefits and opportunities including:

  • Opportunities for medical students to get hands-on experience
  • Research opportunities for students and faculty
  • Service contracts with the campus
  • Employment opportunities for students at the community
  • Student internships and job placements
  • Bolster alumni support & school spirit
  • A chance for residents to engage with students
  • Strengthen UCSD’s fundraising platform
  • Expand campus diversity
  • Create a reliable source of mentors and educators
  • Create a new source of income for the university

The 2018 report of the Council of University of California Emeriti Associations (CUCEA), A Virtual Eleventh Campus, found that statewide, “UC emeriti during this period, when viewed in the aggregate, is equivalent to that of a major university. The emeriti contributions to the mission of the University of California amount to a virtual eleventh campus… UC emeriti taught just under 1,000 undergraduate classes and more than 1,000 graduate classes in the UC system during 2015–2018. By a conservative estimate, this is the equivalent of approximately 500 full-time UC faculty.” (Source The 2018 CUCEA report shows the sustained contributions of engaged faculty retirees in the mission of the university. Translated locally, the approximate teaching and research activities of UCSD emeriti faculty would be an additional undergraduate college or professional school without adding the infrastructure of a new campus unit.


What is a Life Plan Community, and what does it generally offer?

A Life Plan Community, also known as CCRC, or Continuous Care Retirement Community, offers residents a continuum of services:

  • Independent living (IL) where residents do not require regular help with daily living but choose to live in a private residence in the community to partake of its activities and amenities
  • Assisted Living (AL) where residents require a degree of assistance (for example, medication management, bathing, dressing, or routine injections) but continue to live privately
  • Skilled Nursing (SN) for residents facing debilitating illnesses or needing short-term nursing assistance. This may be provided on-site or nearby the community Specialized Memory Care (MC) in a highly structured environment for varying degrees of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Life Plan communities encourage entry at the IL level, tend to have younger, healthier residents, and can guarantee the continuum of care at a monthly cost that does not increase drastically with care level. They also have the advantage that even if one partner needs more care, both residents can stay within the community for life. For further information, see


Do other universities have an associated retirement community?

Yes, within the UC System both UCB and UCLA have retirement communities associated with their campuses. The Berkeley center is on UCB property in the city of Albany under the auspices of a ground lease arrangement. The senior facility associated with UCLA is on private property in Westwood. Both are managed by Belmont Villages, a for-profit company specializing in constructing and managing senior residences.


It is estimated that there are approximately 80 retirement communities related to American universities and colleges. The benefits represent a two-way street. For residents, there is the opportunity to thrive and enjoy the active presence and participation in intergenerational activities surrounded by a stimulating intellectual life. The University enlivens its culture and residential life by having a diverse and permanent residential community. 

Indeed, the fastest-growing aspect of senior living is the placement of retirement communities on or near university campuses in order to promote continuous engagement in intellectual, social, and physical activities in a multigenerational setting. 

Recent public attention to this phenomena demonstrate the point:

I am interested. How do I get updates and further info on UCSD-RC?

An informational website is under development which will contain periodic updates on the progress of the feasibility study and UCSD-RC Work Group activities. In the meantime, however, each member of the Work Group is available for chats and correspondence. Co-chairs Ferrante and Lytle, in particular, plan to hold periodic and informal information sessions throughout the year.


Community Questions


What are the potential sites of UCSD-RC?

There are two potential sites under consideration on the East Campus. See the map below:

Nestled among the world-class health care hospitals and clinics of UCSD, either of these two sites offers proximity to medical services unparalleled anywhere in the world. Both sites will include a multigenerational village with classrooms, lecture halls, medical facilities, theatres, restaurants and pubs, and garden areas. Further, UCSD shuttles, MTA bus service and the extension of the San Diego Trolley make for easy access to shopping, the arts and education throughout the city.

How is it expected UCSD-RC will be funded if it goes forward?

As of this date, no decision has been made as to method of funding and who will be the operator. These are issues currently being investigated in order to present the Chancellor and Academic Senate a full report on the future project. It is most likely, however, that UCSD-RC will be a Public/Private Partnership (PPP) between the University of California San Diego and a private entity with experience in building and managing such a facility on our behalf. Several such PPP arrangements involve a “ground lease” arrangement. Such ground lease arrangements already exist on campus. Among many such PPP projects on the UCSD campus, the most notable are:

  • The UCSD Science Research Park (
  • The La Jolla Playhouse (
  • Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa (
  • Institute for the Americas (
  • UCSD Super Computer Center (
  • The Center for Novel Therapeutics (


Would UCSD-RC be high-rise or low-rise?

The Work Group’s discussions with builders and planners of senior residential communities have led us to believe that a community of approximately 200 units in a high rise building would make the enterprise financially viable and a low financial risk to the campus.

Would UCSD-RC be restricted to UCSD affiliates only?

Priority admission will exist for retired UCSD faculty and staff as well as the parents of current faculty and staff. The next priority for consideration would be age-appropriate alumni, and “friends” of the campus. All remaining units will then be open to age-appropriate members of the general public.

What is the anticipated opening date of UCSD-RC?

Portions of the land on the East Campus remain under covenant with either the U.S. Navy or the local municipality. The campus administration estimates moving forward with plans to assuage these provisions by winter 2021. Given an expected 12 months for plans and program development, opening could be as early as late 2024. Remember, however, this projection assumes the absence of labor strife, major economic upheaval, and no unpredictable missteps along the way.

What amenities or services would be provided?

We are too early in the process to detail specific amenities. It is the view of the Work Group, however, that the UCSD-Retirement Community must be competitive with other local retirement facilities, while at the same time offering the very special appeal of an intimate relationship with a powerful public research university. This unique blend is likely to attract active, engaged seniors eager to share in the life of a modern college campus. The goal is to provide quality care and outstanding indoor/outdoor amenities. The UCSD-RC will strive to reach a balance between the quality of care and a multitude of amenities with the desire to be self-sufficient renting units at or below market prices. It is a fact, too, that the more offered in terms of amenities, the more expensive rates will become.

When would floor plans be provided?

The proposed UCSD-RC prioritizes admission to persons who are affiliated with the University of California San Diego. You were identified as one such affiliate, i.e. faculty/staff (active or retired), alumni, and "friends" of the campus.

Why did I receive a survey about UCSD-RC?

Given the timeline sketch above, floor plans should be available by late 2021 or 2022.