The rooms are intended for international students and those who cannot afford to live in Ghent, Source: Krisztian Korhetz

Ghent University rents rooms in Bruges to help students with housing

Ghent University rents rooms in Bruges to help students with housing

Local authorities want to monitor the situation and keep a healthy housing balance

On 10 November, authorities at Ghent University in Belgium announced that they will rent 100 student rooms in Bruges to ease access to housing. Since the academic institution is located in the city of Ghent, students who live in the new accommodation will have to commute for more than 40 kilometres every day.

The university has also said that this housing is intended for students who cannot afford to go on the private market or international students who would otherwise have to skip going to universities. Also, the rent prices of the accommodations are classified as democratic, meaning that tenants would be eligible for subsidies.

Finding housing ‘externally’

Crucially, the decision came after plans to build more student housing in Ghent itself fell through, according to a press statement. Now, the university’s administration claim that actually renting rooms on the private market would be a cheaper and quicker way of providing housing.

Additionally, the rooms are located near the Bruges train station, to provide better travel options, as the train ride between the two cities takes less than 30 minutes. Authorities say that there could be a possible expansion at the location to a total of 250 rooms.

Moreover, Ghent University officials are also looking into finding student accommodation in Kortrijk – another Belgian city located less than 50 kilometres away from Ghent, with a similar train offer. At the same time, staff have promised to expand the scheme and rent 500 rooms in Ghent territory from 2024.

Long struggle to ease the housing shortage

As the university put it, many students are having trouble finding accommodation on the private market in Ghent, as it is one of the biggest university cities in Belgium. Data from local authorities backs the statement as in July 2021 the city published a study claiming that Ghent would need additional housing would for 10,000 students.

This prompted a response from the local government, which launched an action plan to create more accommodations and asked universities to consult with the city when planning expansions of their programmes so that the influx of students can be managed more effectively.

Furthermore, the city launched an advisory service to help landowners with property close to universities develop their land into student housing.

However, passing the ball of the housing shortages to other cities is not a long-term option either. As the VRT reports, Bruges Alderman for Students, Mathijs Goderis explained that currently there is no shortage of accommodation in the city. Still, local authorities need to keep a close eye on the supply and demand balance.



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