In the rest of Europe, questions of where you are going to live at University create feelings of excitement, not a panicked feeling of helplessness and refreshing of Daft.ie. Most of Europe provides on-campus accommodation at reasonable rates. If this is oversubscribed they have student-orientated private accommodation, usually large flat blocks not far from the university with adequate public transport connections. In some cases the local city council take on the responsibility of providing housing for students or private companies fill this space.
Thao Lam, a Dutch student on Erasmus at UCD, said it was a big difference from home. In the Netherlands ‘I was offered a place to stay by school the minute I was admitted. So it was all taken care of’. In Dublin, she has been looking for accommodation since she arrived. Ireland is becoming unattractive for foreign students as an Erasmus destination. A survey from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) said 80% of foreign students felt it was not value for money and more expensive than their own country.
In Norway, every major university town has a semi-state company owned by the university, students and the local government. These companies provide not just housing but healthcare, dental, childcare, and counselling for students at a discounted rate. They make money through services such as catering, gym subscriptions, bookshops and rent. They then reinvest this money into student services or to build more apartments. Rent starts at 280 euro and can go up to 600 for a single student in Bergen. How much you are willing to pay depends on if you want a shared kitchen or better amenities (such as a washing machine). Those who may not be able to afford the private rental market and those on exchange are prioritised for renting. In most European countries getting accommodation is not always easy but most countries do try to provide a housing market for students.
The UK provides the most coverage for student housing in Europe, according to the Savills Group, a global real estate service. They use a US model of providing incentives to companies to build student accommodation. According to Savills’ report, they also have a higher concentration of students in one place so it is attractive for companies to invest and seen as a safe investment after the economic downturn. Rent in London ranges from 180-200 euro a week in University halls, private and purpose built accommodation. The Irish Revenue service have attemped to promote tax incentives for private companies, and a tax break for the rent-a-room digs schemes. But as accomodation is set to get scarcer year on year, Ireland and UCD in comparison to other European univeristies could do much more.