Studying in Ghent: desperate struggle to find affordable accommodation

The Ghent city council wants to see an immediate increase in the number of student rooms.

At the moment nearly 10,000 students can not rent a regular student accommodation, but are obligated to rent a regular family home. This offer is too expensive for many students and jeopardizes their right to education. “And we certainly don’t want that to happen,” reassures alderman of living Tine Heyse.

Over the past 20 years, the number of students in increased by almost 34,000, while only 3,800 official student accommodations have been constructed. “The struggle is real: we need more supply,” Heyse says.

Students who already found for a room in Ghent for the next academic year are in luck, cause 45,000 others are still searching. In addition, the rooms that are available are also becoming more and more expensive. In 2019, the average price of a student accommodation was 365 euros per month. That price has now increased to 485 euros. The city of Ghent asks educational institutions to commit to providing additional accommodation when expanding the educational offer.

Responsible growth plan

“Intervening in the number of students at higher education institutions is not on the table,” Heyse adds. “But we want to discuss a responsible growth plan together with them. This, of course, includes proactively looking for housing, in proportion to the number of students that will follow classes,” she concludes.

Flemish minister of housing Matthias Diependaele is said to map out the situation by reactivating vacancies in collaboration with local authorities and bringing the various actors together to create additional offers towards affordable accommodation.


© Belga Photo James Arthur Gekiere

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