With the release of the state budget last week, there was an unpleasant surprise for students and student advocates: a decrease in the amount of student housing proposed to be built.
«We expected more from parties that said they would increase student housing. Instead they’re suggesting less than last year,» Mats Johansen Beldo said via a press release. As leader of the Norwegian Student Organization (NSO), he called for the parliament to take initiative and build 3,000 new housing units.
«When school started this year over 12,000 students were waiting to get housing,» Beldo said.
According to an NSO student housing survey for 2017, there are 14,165 housing units missing, preventing the organization of reaching their 20 percent coverage goal.
Unpredictable situation for students
«This budget gives students a slightly better every day economic situation, but many of them will still be dependent on a part-time job or help from their family,» Beldo said. «If Norway is going to be a society with high-quality education, we have to invest more in students,» he insisted.
Each year, thousands of students stand on the waiting list for housing. Beldo believes the lack of attention to this problem gives many students an unsteady start to their studies.
«This proposal does not meet our needs. Many students are starting the semester with an unpredictable living situation.
Dissatisfied student leader
Jens Lægreid, Student Parliament Leader at UiO, is dissatisfied with the proposal. He says student housing is not prioritized highly enough.
«The government went into the election saying they would increase the amount of student housing, but that isn’t reflected in the state budget.
Elisabeth Holien, Leader of the Welfare Council in Oslo and Akershus, was equally unimpressed with the budget.
«Even with last year’s record investment in student housing, the wait list is still much too long,» Holien said. «It’s disappointing that the government isn’t investing in this issue in 2018, even with this obvious need.»