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Student housing crisis 'worse than ever'

TT/The Local/gm · 4 Aug 2011, 11:58

Published: 04 Aug 2011 11:58 GMT+02:00

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According to the Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services (Verket för högskoleservice - VHS), a total of 270,000 students have been granted enrollment for programmes at Swedish universities and colleges this year.

As a result, students find them facing an even more acute shortage of housing options than in years past.

"The situation in Lund is extreme and it is even worse this year," Tova Bennett from Lund University-based student housing organisation BoPoolen, told The Local.

“It's very tough. If you haven’t placed yourself in the queue already, it is almost impossible to get an apartment."

Bennett explained that a lack of student housing as "always been a problem" in Lund, home to one of Sweden's oldest and most prestigous universities, but that the situation is even worse this year.

"We have 8,5000 rooms or apartments in Lund and 35,000 students. This means that it is really hard for someone to get somewhere to live, especially in the centre of town."

While BoPoolen was set up to help students find accommodation near the university, Bennett suggests that students may have better luck if they widen there search to include locations outside the town itself.

“It is a relatively small town but there are many small villages just outside the town where students live and it is easy to either cycle or commute into the university each day” she said.

“I would recommend that all students act as early as possible, use services like our own and try to contact other places privately, to try to find a second-hand contract."

The problem is exacerbated by the increasing numbers of students entering further education as a result of the baby boom in the 1990s, the largest in Sweden since since the immediate boom following World War II.

Those children are now in their early 20s and entering an already crowded system.

Universities are finding themselves deluged with applications, which in turn is putting even more pressure on the accommodation services.

In Uppsala meanwhile, the number of enrolled students increased by 1,500 people and there too it is evident that the problem is worse than last year.

“Last year was tough, but even more so this year," Markus Jonegård of Uppsala-based Studentboet, a service set up by the university to help students rent accommodation privately, told The Local.

Story continues below…

"The best advice we can give is to do a lot of the work yourself, get your name on as many lists as possible and contact as any organisations as you can. The more active you are the better, especially for those coming this fall.”

He added that Studentboet is working closely with the university and the local council to find solutions.

“It is obvious that there is not enough accommodation for students, but it is a difficult problem for everyone. The council works very hard and it is too easy to just say they should provide more accommodation,” he says.

TT/The Local/gm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:12 August 4, 2011 by crofab
Record-high enrollment? I thought there was a huge drop in enrollment this year due to less international students from outside the EU. What am I missing here?
13:19 August 4, 2011 by Abe L
That's one of the downsides of free education, there is no motivation to finish your program as soon as possible and get to work. It would also help greatly if the dormitories where more aggressive on forcing people who have finished their degree or dropped out to leave student housing and not use it as a cheap place to live after college.

Although the absolute numbers seem to be implying a very drastic lack of actual houses. Sadly nothing in Sweden can be constructed in a short amount of time and it will probably take years if not decades to get these pulled out the ground.
13:42 August 4, 2011 by akhokhay

In my department (Chalmers) application drops from 1500 to 250 this year!


OMG I am soooooooooooo high!
14:09 August 4, 2011 by Shibumi
I'm with crofab here... foreign student enrollment is supposed to be way down according to the Local's own reporting in May:


I remember thinking that it should help the student housing situation... so what happened?
14:19 August 4, 2011 by Abe L
Crofab,Shibumu: The article clearly states the cause of the increase of students is due to the Swedish babyboom in the 90s. It says nowhere that the numbers imply foreign students.
14:42 August 4, 2011 by asifbit
"We have 8,5000 rooms or apartments in Lund and 35,000 students. This means that it is really hard for someone to get somewhere to live, especially in the centre of town."

Then what is the problem? 85000 rooms and 35000 sutdents. One student can have two rooms :-).

A big typing mistake and published without and proof reading ?
15:01 August 4, 2011 by Liefje
I think Swedes could learn how to solve problems quickly cheap and efficient.

In Holland a whole campus was set up using sea containers. Took one month to build and once not needed will take a week to dissamble it.
15:04 August 4, 2011 by akhokhay
I still think this article is fishy!

In some universities in smaller cities up to last year we have 27 international studet vs. 3 Swedish student!

I don't believe they have30 Swedish students now.

On the other hands I am sure that dean of smaller universities said they will have drop in budget !

some universities had late applicants open even in June for August!

15:19 August 4, 2011 by Svensksmith
An education in survival.
16:11 August 4, 2011 by glamelixir
All universities are complaining about the fall of student enrollment so pleeeease, if you want to fill in your lame frontpage local, don't try it by reseting the same article you have been using every year at this point, because it is now useless.
16:12 August 4, 2011 by graphixperson
@ Abe L

You can actually live there after college? They don't force you out?

You're not even allowed to stay in the dorms during Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.
17:19 August 4, 2011 by Indignerad
"You can actually live there after college? They don't force you out?"

No, you can't and yes, they do.
17:33 August 4, 2011 by conboy
The redhead to the right can stay with me!
22:41 August 4, 2011 by kenny8076
Out if all these articles published ALL the time on this site we only hear the numbers and problems...... WHEN are we going to start hearing solutions? how can this country continue to have a certain problem everyyear and do NOTHING to fix it, just continue reporting it....... Why aren't dorms and student housing being built?

8,500 rooms for 35,000 students? be embarrassed.... be VERY embarrassed
08:16 August 5, 2011 by tuerd1982
This is surprising, I never imagined this.
10:59 August 5, 2011 by PoJo
What is this now? I read tons of articles this year saying that the number of students has dropped considerably and surprise, surprise... at the same time the accommodation situation has supposedly reached its worst point... Hmmm... that doesn't sound right to me. Is this some sort of propaganda to keep the housing prices high? Because I know for a fact that after the exchange students land in Sweden, the prices of the apartments and rooms go sky high.

Did Swedish couples give birth to more babies for a specific time in the nineties, so that now there are apparently more Swedish students in the Universities? Seems weird to me!
15:07 August 6, 2011 by Descartes
The author of this article is rather confused or wants to confuse the readers or … there are a lot of exchange students coming from Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities to Malmo, Jonkoping and Uppsala Universities.
06:23 August 7, 2011 by imonx
Swedish Universities are empty this is just a bogus article
05:59 August 16, 2011 by Tdye
Why not just build more dorms? seems pretty easy to me...With the way the economy is in the US..there would be a drove of US workers flocking to build much needed dorms in Sweden...

They dont have to be big fancy places... hell a good solid crew here in the states can build a large home start to finish in less than a month..I used to hang Iron before I fell, we would build massive 10,00Sqft. buildings in just a few weeks
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