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Student housing crisis 'untenable': report

TT/Rebecca Martin · 22 Aug 2011, 10:40

Published: 22 Aug 2011 10:40 GMT+02:00

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The union is now demanding that the government act so that more student accommodation can be built.

“We know that there is quite a large number of students today who are unable to find anywhere to live and end up sleeping on a friend’s couch, on an inflatable mattress or borrowing someone’s country cottage,” said Camilla Georgsson, chair of SFS, to The Local.

The report is a study of the situation for all Swedish students in university towns across the country.

It shows that, with a few exceptions, the situation for university students seeking digs in Sweden is pretty harsh.

The association calls the situation "untenable" and is now calling for more accommodation made available, adapted to both students’ needs and wallets.

But some areas are doing better than others. The recipe for success is a well-developed cooperation between local authorities, housing companies, universities and student unions, according to Georgsson.

She uses Trollhättan, in western Sweden, as an example of an area that has done well in trying to improve the housing situation for students.

“We see that those that have done the best are those that view students as an investment in the future. Generally the attitude is that the problem will 'work itself out' but we have seen that it doesn’t,” Georgsson said.

The union wants the government to intervene and ensure that more student housing will be built in the near future. Meanwhile, term is starting and many students will find themselves without guaranteed accommodation.

Story continues below…

According to Georgsson, students must in the meantime be informed as to what their prospects of finding digs are.

“Today students have to plan ahead. They must be given information in advance about the housing situation at their university town of choice," she said to The Local.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:51 August 22, 2011 by Token-not-found
How many students are placed in an average government room?

From my knowledge it's 2.
18:07 August 22, 2011 by Zonob
This makes no sense to me. I thought after they imposed fees on international students and practically got rid of thousands of would be students, the housing crises will be solved or at least eased. I don't understand it.
18:32 August 22, 2011 by Boar
If You stopped international students then what difference it makes in housing?

I will tell you:

Let's say the total seats for international students in whole Sweden are 4000 excluding exchange students. Those 4000 are filled by Europeans instead of Asians and Africans. Got it? And, added to that the Swedes will anyway be in majority.
18:48 August 22, 2011 by Token-not-found
Depending on the answer to my first question, i have a solution for you Swedes !

Just house 5 students per small room like they do in Romania.

And yes, i'm joking, that is a horrible way for a student to live, studying or peace of mind ,half-decent sleep or sanity are out of the question in that situation.

Specially if you are an introvert.
22:18 August 22, 2011 by Boar
It seems to look like a joke.

They have avoided Asians and Africans. Then, how can you avoid fellow Europeans? They will anyway study for free and for sure all the universities will be filled.

Boars speculation is that by the next year they will either charge the Europeans or it will be made free education as it was before. Just because, in either case none pays to get into universities by paying. I heard that only 2 Non-EU students came to Stockholm into one course.
22:32 August 22, 2011 by Token-not-found
@Boar, are you aware of the fact that each member state makes yearly contributions to the EU ?

EU students in Sweden do not study there for FREE , the tuition money is provided indirectly from the contribution each member state makes to the EU.

Non-western students study for free, or used too anyway.
22:43 August 22, 2011 by swedejane
Why are they accepting more students than they have housing for? I hate how the housing situation is handled here...so dumb.
01:15 August 23, 2011 by Boar
@Token-not-found: I think you did not understand clearly about the situation here. What you talk about is different and what Boar groans is different. The funds are provided for Exchange and erasmus Mundus bla bla. from EU. With that Boar agrees clearly.

But, the one important issue discussed in Riksdag was the international admissions (Free movers). Did you get me? If you are an EU, you are a free rider, or else you pay. Universities get the funds from the Swedish State again as like it was before, if ever all the seats are filled only by EU Residents. EU funds are not paid when there is an EU Free mover studying.
07:24 August 23, 2011 by Token-not-found
@Boar , sorry for the lack of context.

I was referring to the EU free mover, because many complain about this group , pointing to the fact that they had no tax contribution in this country so they should not benefit from it's free education, all i wanted to say is that they do have a tax contribution to the EU and that finally quantifies in one way or another towards that goal.

We are not leeching off the system, non-EU students used to , but now they have to pay, a very logical and good thing if you ask me.
10:23 August 23, 2011 by Boar

I did not get it clearly here. Maybe you might be right. I am confused a bit.

You mean how is there a difference between an EU free mover and a Non-EU free mover? Don't you think both are leaches unless or until they are exchange?

I speculate both bleed the boar and other tax payers severely.

If the Education is free then both are leaches.

If Education is payment type then only EU is the leach.
10:38 August 23, 2011 by Token-not-found
@Boar : no, i don't think they are both leeches.

Part of the money that a given EU country contributes to every year is meant to cover those potential costs of education in the country the student wants to study.

Let me put it this way: why is education in Sweden free? Because each citizen pays tax for it. Now, a Polish guy wants to come study in Sweden, his country makes a hefty contribution each year to the EU , those money are used for all kinds of things among them being absorption. I'm not very familiar with the system, but indirectly the Polish guy payed tax so he could benefit the same as native EU citizen from a given country's educational system. Of course this thing covers a limited, potential number of EU students, but i don't think the quota has ever been broken.

In short, one way or another EU citizens contribute to the system, non-EU students don't contribute anything.

The free-for-all system was not good , in my opinion, it favored non-EU opportunists that just wanted to have fun and travel at other's expense, that system did not benefit the disadvantaged people.

I do not think those coming to study in Sweden from non-western countries were poor. To live in Sweden you would need at least 1000$ per month, an unattainable feat even for most Romanian,Bulgarians, Poles and other such poor EU member states citizens.

The minimum wage in Romania is 200$ , for example, now considering that most non-eu students come from countries much, much poorer than those, i wouldn't exactly consider them poor.

I think it was just an opportunity to travel and have new experiences, i don't think it was crucial to them.

I for example, love the nordic countries with all my heart, am part nordic myself and my only purpose in life is to move there, but in my student years i could never hope to achieve that, the living standards here and there are completely incompatible. I'm all for the welfare state and helping the underdog, but i don't think this was helping anyone disfavored , because tuition fees or no , the poor non-western student couldn't even cover a fraction of the living costs in Sweden.

If the Education is free then both are leaches. - i provided the arguments in this case

If Education is payment type then only EU is the leach. - it's not, non-EU students are an exception, EU students are treated the same as Swedish , on an institutional level, and that is fair, considering the system, i think.
11:01 August 23, 2011 by Boar

OK. Now I get it.
16:10 August 26, 2011 by tadchem
Being able to find a place to live, with or without assistance, is an important part of the *practical* side of a student's education.

As an unsupported graduate student I lived for 4 years in half of a converted carriage house owned by an 80+ year-old lady. Found it myself, and it only cost half of what I earned as a teaching assistant.
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