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Student housing shortage worse than ever
Photo: Christian Örnberg/Fastighetsbyrån/Scanpix (file)

Student housing shortage worse than ever

Published: 23 Jul 2010 15:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Jul 2010 15:44 GMT+02:00

The housing shortage has now spread from larger cities, with a lack in smaller university and college towns becoming apparent as well. SFS does not have any clear statistics, but from what it has observed, it has presented a dismal prognosis.

"The pressure on universities is very hard," said SFS vice-president Elisabeth Gehrke. "There are those who have housing guarantees, but we suspect that some of the guarantees will be smoke in the autumn."

Gothenburg is one of Sweden's largest student cities. However, the shortage of student accommodation is now acute, especially for those who will study at Gothenburg University, Göteborgs-Posten wrote.

The SGS Student Housing Foundation has no more apartments left to allocate and already has 18,000 people on its waiting list. Most have succeeded securing accommodations through other means, such as renting rooms in private homes, for example, but remain on the waiting list.

The situation is equally dire down the road at Chalmers University of Technology, which has five available apartments for every 1,000 applicants, the newspaper reported.

Both the municipality and the university have calculated that it needs at least 2,000 new student apartments in Gothenburg, the report said. Chalmers, for example, open 100 new apartments in the new year.

The housing shortage has long been a problem for students in larger university cities, but SFS has seen how it has become worse in recent years in smaller towns.

"Many small institutions of higher education pledge a housing guarantee, but now a certain number of them have seen a 20 percent increase in demand," said Gehrke.

She pointed out that the lack of small and cheap housing is problem among young people in general. However, for institutions of higher learning, recruitment is problematic when students cannot apply for the courses they want at the risk of being homeless.

This leads to a situation where the top universities end up recruiting students from wealthy or academic backgrounds, with a strong network of contacts and where they can receive advice on possibly even help buying a home if necessary.

"It creates alienation and segregation. Is it fair that only students with wealthy backgrounds should have access to certain educational institutions?" asked Gehrke.

Studies in Uppsala and Lund also show that the housing shortage has an impact on academic results. Those who constantly worry about their housing situation find it more difficult to concentrate on their studies.

As such, it has become an economic burden for colleges and universities that depend on the performance grades of their students.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:37 July 23, 2010 by zsuf0103
Need to check the person who hold the student residence are they still continuing their study?

I saw some people who dnt live in that particular city but still have residence and they are student, then how can the problem will be solve?
17:08 July 23, 2010 by eddie123
the solution lies in developing low cost housing around the country. this isn't just a students only problem, the general population is experiencing similar shortages. it takes forever to get accommodation in major cities in Sweden and this has given rise to second hand renting at exorbitant rates.

if there is low cost housing available, a lot of young people will take up apartments that they are able to afford and rely less on student housing. in the alternative, universities should build student halls of residence to carter for the student population. this is the practice elsewhere.

perhaps, the introduction of student fees will ease the accommodation pressure in 2011 and beyond. we never can tell until we get there.
17:46 July 23, 2010 by Irishmanabroad
I've never known a country to obsess so much about housing as Sweden! There honestly much be something wrong. I remember when I arrived a Chalmers, I expected to meet the person responsible for rooms, sign a form, be given my keys and a map and move in. What happened was that I had to put myself up in a hostel for 4 days until the turn of the new month (because if I wanted a room for the last 4 days of the month I had to pay for that month in cash), then put my name in the queue and wait for a further 4 days, only to be handed an apartment that was miles away, infested with bedbugs and to top it all off, the key didn't work. When you come as a foreign student to my Uni, they pick you up at the airport and take you to the door of your room!

Funny though, that 6 months later the lady responsible for rooms was removed from her position because she was pocketing the cash deposits people were paying. In every other exchange I've ever been on, it was never handled even as close as bad to that. I hear arriving as a masters student is even worse! My partner has just secured a student apartment after being on a waiting list for 60 days, a list which you need a personal number for, which is hardly fair for those just arriving in the country.

Complain complain, moan moan, nothing will ever be done unfortunately because on the whole, it mostly works out for Swedes and they don't know how to complain and protest like the Brits or Irish :) I for one will be buying and most likely subletting to international students.
17:47 July 23, 2010 by countrysidedrive
Every single person in Gothenburg KNOWS that there is a housing shortage for everyone. And everyone KNOWS that the housing shortage has been like this for far too long. And everyone KNOWSs that student housing has a ridiculously long wait to get a room. People even graduate before they get a room. WHY? This really is unacceptable.
17:54 July 23, 2010 by grantike
another issue is :is the house affordable for students to live in.in south coast student apartment cost like between 2700 to 3500kr for maybe 21sqm and 18 sqm.is that affordable or expensive based on full time student.

i guess they should work out a plan to ease rents and build more house.i have never seen any new student building for five years i have here in the south coast.
17:58 July 23, 2010 by si
Mostly just moaners, while true that there is a 1 year waiting list for student flats it is much easier to get into the dorms
18:05 July 23, 2010 by countrysidedrive
Generally speaking Swedes do complain a lot and are moaners. But housing is a real problem. It is not made up. This is one of the few cases that the moaners are completely correct. There is a giant problem and it seems no one cares.
19:15 July 23, 2010 by sendia
Probably the last academic year with such a big shortage, so lets wait and see!
19:39 July 23, 2010 by Munmun30
To Irishmanabroad:

I would be interested in knowing how you propose to buy and rent out to students. That is exactly what I would like to do...( see my post under Buying an Apt. in Malmo) but as I understand most housing is co-op, and the association decides whether to allow renting of a property or not. Also, renting out is allowed only for a max of 2 years. The housing laws / rules really need to be opened up.....especially given there is such lack of housing.
22:07 July 23, 2010 by Anon 1:50
Knowing college students as I do, I have a solution!

Large, waxed cardboard boxes, lined with inexpensive blankets should suffice and weekly issuance of bags of "student chow" should go a long way towards ending this problem.

This will also allow undergraduates to spend their money on beer and parties.

The real reason for going to college.
22:48 July 23, 2010 by Irishmanabroad
Yes, the housing association is a bit of a balls, so my plan is not to buy into one of those because you a snookered no matter what you will try to acheive. If you are foreign, there is even less chance of being given permission. The plan is either to buy a newer apartment which doesn't have an "association", which a friend has recently done and is currently doing what I plan to do. Or I plan to find a house slightly further out of town with the aim of subletting to PhD students or international students either uninterested in partying the nuts off of themselves or desperate for a place to live.
23:33 July 23, 2010 by Swedesmith
The two gals in the picture can come live at my house...if my wife will let them!
00:08 July 24, 2010 by jimyrollins
The housing shortage problem will be alleviated by 2011 as the number of foreign university students in Sweden will plummet due to the implementation of tuition fees for Non-EU students. Any Non-EU student who actually cares about quality of education will surely go to the UK, North America or Australia before Sweden is even a consideration. Consequentially, Swedish Universities will begin to suffer as they will be unable to attract premier students from outside of the EU/Iceland/Norway/Switzerland.
00:17 July 24, 2010 by vicarno
@Swedensmith.........Your wife will allow just one of them, then I have one....lol
02:06 July 24, 2010 by blursd
I know studentbostader in Linkoping was awful ... you had your choice between cheap, run down student apartments in the middle of a suburban ghetto, or expensive and spartan apartments in the middle of nowhere. Ultimately, I ended up going with the latter ... about 6,000 SEK for a 46 square meter two room apartment.

Then, I found out through a friend in my program who had a Swedish girlfriend (from before he moved to Sweden) that their (much nicer and bigger) apartment in the middle of downtown was 6,000 a month. As soon as my contract expired I moved out, and bought an apartment through a non-school affiliated firm.

It was cheaper, it was better, and it was nicer ... 52 square meter apartment a half mile from downtown for 4,500 SEK a month.
02:49 July 24, 2010 by kenny8076
i know we all acknowledge this on all these postings as a problem, but does the country? you can archive this website to years ago and there are articles just like this about housing in Sweden. Does the government recognize this as a problem? are they scared to build high-rise apartments? i don't know, create jobs! I live in Karlstad and i haven't seen an apartment building higher than 6 stories, just streets and streets of 2 story's, like the one i live in. Why don't they build up instead of out? i never understood it. they could take my whole street and build it 20 stories up, and have the entire rest of the block for parks,pools, business, gym, or anything they wanted. I dont know maybe thats just the American coming out of me, but i know there you walk into a leasing office and get your keys that same day!
06:35 July 24, 2010 by ybelov
Last year I was admitted for a programme at Uppsala university, so I moved to Sweden. However, there was no room for me and I had to live in a hostel. It was too expensive and I could not bring my stuff from Finland. After three weeks I decided to return to Finland, where I study now.
06:41 July 24, 2010 by glamelixir
I am desperate. I have 590 days in the cue, need a student apartment (not only a roon) as I am married, and at this pace I will be able to get one with 1300 days. It is ridiculous, I will have enough days when I finnish my studies?

Besides apartments are sooo expensive.

I am also in the bostad stockholm cue, a regular apartment in the city 50 kvm might cost 6000 kr, but a student one same size 8500??? And you can´t apply to the regular ones unless you have a higher income. How do they assume that you can pay your student one if they are putting those requirements to one that is cheaper?

I agree with who said that more control is required, there are people owing two apartments or not studying any more.
08:09 July 24, 2010 by Puffin
This is the final year where there will be such major problems out side of the major cities as applications are so dramatically up this year because of

- the recession - fewer jobs for high school leavers

- the last year of free tution for not EU citizens

There is a problem in the cities as University housing companies are in competition with developers and cannot get land at a reasonable price - then this forces up the rental price out of student's reach for new apartments.- it's also a problem if you want a large family sized student apartment as there are so few of these.

this was the situation in Uppsala until they were forced to build on Ekonomikum park - now that those flats have been finished during the last year

@ybelov - a shame you gave up after 3 weeks - when I started at Uppsala there were several late admissions students in this position - one girl used to bring her suitcase to lectures each day as she did not know where she would sleep the night - however by around the 4-5 week park everyone had a place. It is often at the end of the first course that some students drop out
09:03 July 24, 2010 by here for the summer
Maybe the idea of ending the free tuition for non eu students isn't so bad after all. Less students would reduce the housing shortage .

It is also a fact that rent control and illegal subletting and is the cause of the shortage of private housing. Who will invest in new buildings and rental apartments if they are denied a return on their investment.
11:42 July 24, 2010 by aaww
kidding!!!

what is not on shortage in Sweden?
13:21 July 24, 2010 by glamelixir
@ here for the summer

i think it is not bad at all, why do we have to pay from our taxes for the education of foreigners that don't even get it in their own countries?

I lived in Argentina for most of my life, it is the same situation there. Free public universities with excellence in some educations like medicine, economy and engineering, with hundreds of foreign students getting their education for free meanwhile other areas are in desperate need. I don't see why the Argentine people should be paying for the education of foreigners who go to the country and use their public hospitals as well without showing one dollar.

It's the new knowledge colonialism.
14:43 July 24, 2010 by missla
@glamelixir

these same students that are studying for free and using the hospitals are the ones paying the rent, shopping food, clothes, etc, in other words, are contributing to the economy of the country. And many students do get a job and pay taxes like any other person. So I guess they are not such a BIG burden as you say...
14:51 July 24, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
@glamelixir:

>> why do we have to pay from our taxes for the education of foreigners that >>don't even get it in their own countries?

That's the point my friend. Sweden helps 3rd world countries more than any country in the world. The reason for this is obvious: "We let you in our country to get a well education and you will go back your country and contribute your culture and be a pace in civilization and development of your country."

This idea is very respected by lots of countries and I don't find Sweden clumsy or feckless of helping other country citizens unlike most Swedes do think so.

Bringing democracy to a region may be harder with educating since you cannot break up the traditions/religion etc. but far better results than with weaponary.

Regards.
19:20 July 24, 2010 by here for the summer
@ jazzIIIlove great arguments for educating people and sending them back to their respective countries. What do you think of the new policy giving directed scholarships from your point the idea of ?
23:45 July 24, 2010 by edman
@Irishmanabroad

I agree with ur post #3 100%

if sweden has a quota for international student in universities, they should also make the same quota amount for accommodation. we cant compete swede on the waiting list !! some of swede register for student apartment when they are 15 years old!
02:50 July 25, 2010 by vicarno
Hey hey lets take it easy, from autumn 2011 student apartments will be available for all Swedish and EU students...enough for even those with 3 dogs and 2 cats.
14:42 July 26, 2010 by americanska
Sounds like it's going to be expensive for everyone to go to school in sweden. not just foreigners.

it's not worth the "free" tuition if you have to take out massive loans just to rent a room.

Especially when the schools have less resources than private institutions that provide housing, food and actual helpful professors and student advisors.
00:19 July 27, 2010 by LeoKinmann
I just heard that 9 Swedish universities/colleges are permitted to rent out rooms to their own students. The officials in these univ have complained how students dropped out as they cant secure housing options.

http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/12469/a/149912
17:09 September 29, 2010 by beyenpe
I have the same situation. I study at Jönköping and I moved out of my place in summer thinking of finding a better place and did not want to pay for three months. Then I started looking for a place in summer like the beginning of July. I applied for like 20 rooms through studentbostad Jönköping but always got "du har inte blivit visning för detta objekt". I was also checking out blocket.se daily maybe couple of times every day. I was even calling if they had a number but they were getting surprised after they hear me speaking English. Once I called a guy about a room and he told me that he is not the responsible one for the room. I asked him so why did you put your phone number. He muttered something and told me to text him and never heard anything again.

Every story about me looking for a place is quite similar. Jönköping University placed a lot of students to hostels for a short time because they could not fix any place for some students. I asked the same question "so why do you accept this people to your school if you do not have enough place to give them".

I am really happy that I live and study in Sweden but this accommodation problem really annoyed me. I have been looking for a place for three months, my friends back home cannot believe me and ask me "how is that possible".

It is really ridiculous and it is almost the same in every city. I also considered going back home and come back next year and finish my studies.

Hopefully I have two friends who let me live in their place and I sleep on a thin mattress on the floor and we live three people in a pretty small room.
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