A record number of students are increasing the already tough competition for affordable student housing in Denmark’s largest cities.
According to the Ministry of Housing, there are only 64,423 cheap homes set aside for Denmark’s 247,260 students.
The lack of housing for students means that many have to live in temporary accommodation well after their studies start, which is unacceptable according to Jakob Ruggard, the chairman of the student’s union, Danske Studerendes Fællesråd.
“This should not be the situation in a country like Denmark where we hope to become the most highly educated generation ever,” Ruggard told public broadcaster DR. “If you don’t have a roof over your head and a place to meet your study group, you have the worst possible start to your studies.”
The housing spokesperson for the Socialdemokraterne, Jan Johansen, agreed that there is too little student housing to meet the demand in the cities, but countered that there is housing available for students who are willing to commute.
“Students may have to commute just like those in the labour market,” Johansen told DR, dismissing arguments that students perform better when they live near their studies. “Some people will have to commute in order to take their education because not everyone can live near their place of study. It is simply not possible.”
According to DR, while there are 9,000 students on waiting lists for student housing in Copenhagen there is housing available in the towns of Næstved and Helsingør which are about 45 minutes away by train. A railway pass for commuting students, Ungdomskort, costs 587 kroner a month.
Despite the long waiting lists, the Housing Ministry stated in a press release today that nine out of ten students don’t need student housing and manage to find their homes on their own by scouring the housing market.
The ministry stated that it was never the government’s goal that all students should be housed in student housing and that many will choose to live alone or with friends in apartments found on the open market.
Despite the success of most students in finding a place to live, the housing, urban and rural affairs minister, Carsten Hansen (Socialdemokraterne), stated that the the government would keep track of the situation.
“The government’s ambitious education policies have created more students and resulted in the need for more accommodation,” Hansen stated in the press release. “That is why the government has improved the opportunities for councils to build more housing for youths and students. We are already seeing these positive results.”