Some international students dropping out due to a lack of housing
Utrecht University has already received notifications from several disappointed international students who will postpone their studies for a year because they cannot find accommodation. The university previously warned students to reconsider their studies if they cannot find housing in the city. Even still, many students are looking for a home before starting their study programs.
The shortage of student housing has been a problem for years. Student housing advisory center Kences said there will be a shortage of about 26,500 rooms for students in the upcoming academic year, said Kences director Jolan de Bie.
Utrecht University (UU) does not know how many students withdrew their intent to register for classes this year, or dropped out of programs altogether because they could not find accommodation. The number of international students expected in Utrecht this year is also unknown. International students often enroll at several universities, so the number of enrollments can fluctuate towards the start of the academic year. Last year, 2,776 international students eventually started a study program at the UU. The university reserves 1,250 rooms from housing providers for international students, but that allotment is already full, a spokesperson said. The UU has reserved another 75 places at a Stayokay hostel for students who will go ahead and start the academic year without a room.
The Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam also saw "slightly more cancellations" in registrations for bachelor's degree programs. "However, we do not know whether this has to do with the previously issued warning to reconsider your studies at the VU as an international if you have not found a room by 1 August," according to a university spokesperson. She said that international students who arranged for housing without the VU's help also received an e-mail containing the same warning.
International students who have registered at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have also been told that it is very difficult to find accommodation in the city. The 3,000 rooms that the university has reserved for international students together with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) were already reserved before the summer. "We hope that students do not come on spec," said a spokesperson. "Every year, we see that students just try it, like, 'I'll see what happens.' You really do not want that, because it will not simply 'work out.' You really run the risk that you will have to sleep on a couch somewhere."
The ASVA Student Association has so far received about fifty to sixty requests for help from international students who have been unable to find a room in Amsterdam, said board member Job Vermaas. They co-founded an online platform where people can offer a room to students in need. The platform, No Room for Us, was launched with the help of other organizations last year.
Reporting by ANP