SEOUL, June 7 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean university students are being hit hard by the soaring cost of renting an apartment near university campuses around the country, with poor student housing capacity failing to accommodate students, leaving them little choice but to bite the bullet and fork out as much as 700,000 ($623) won per month.
According to statistics from Higher Education in Korea released last month, one in three university students who wishes to live in student accommodation in South Korea has no access to affordable accommodation, many of whom are then subject to high rent in the area around their campus.
Against this backdrop, the General Students Association at Hanyang University held a conference on Monday in front of Seoul City Hall where members of the union urged Seoul’s deliberation committee of city planning to approve a new student housing project.
“Currently, only 11.5 percent of students have access to student accommodation, and the figure drops even lower to a single digit when you subtract those in company-owned dormitories,” the student body said.
“Rent for rooms near Hanyang University can be as high as 500,000 won with a deposit of 10 million won, or 700,000 won with a deposit of 700,000 won, giving us all the more reason to build new student housing,” the group added.
From May 30 to June 2, the student union was able to collect more than 1,800 signatures on a petition for the newly proposed housing project.
Previously, more than 2,800 signatures were collected in support of a new student housing project which the student body at Hanyang University submitted to the local office of Seongdong District.
During the election campaign, President Moon Jae-in promised to tackle student housing problems by introducing affordable shared accommodation, while expanding the current university accommodation capacity for an additional 50,000 students.
While the effort to grant more students access to affordable accommodation is being met with opposition from local landlords, some urge universities to be at the center of the conversation and do more to protect the interest of their own students.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)