“Because school dormitories cannot accommodate the entire student body, students turn their eyes to find a place near their schools,” a realtor at Dae-young Real Estate in Sinchon said. “As a result, the already expensive monthly rents are skyrocketing and supply is in serious shortage.”
To alleviate such problems, the government has planned stronger measures including building a public dormitory, expanding financial support for universities and loosening regulations for building dormitories.
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MOSF) on Aug. 14 announced a plan to build a public dormitory for university students on a 3,418-square-meter nation-owned property located in Seodaemun-gu, Hongje-dong, this year.
The ministry decided to build the dormitory on nation-owned-land because campus land privately owned by universities is insufficient to accommodate the number of students in search of places to live.
The specific plan for building the dormitory is still under discussion, yet it is planned to accommodate up to 8,000 students. The monthly rental is planned to be 190,000 won, which is 50,000 won lower than the average university dormitory cost. Students from low-income families will be favored for selection over other applicants.
The ministry further plans to build two more public dormitories in Gongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu, and Guui-dong, Gwangjin-gu, to provide more affordable places to live near universities.
“We chose Hongje-dong first, as it is close to many universities such as Yonsei University, Ewha Womans University, and Sogang University. So we hope it can benefit as many students as possible,” a ministry official said.
Alongside the MOSF’s public dormitory plan, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) announced on July 30 it will promote universities building more dormitories by expanding financial support and loosening construction regulations.
As a result, 11 universities have approved or are in the process of acquiring approval to construct new dormitories.
To lessen the financial burden to universities of constructing dormitories, the MEST has loaned 753,000 million won to four universities including Kyung Hee University and Dankook University at the low interest rate of two percent, which will be used to build accommodation for 3,083 more students.
The MEST also loosened regulations on dormitory construction for universities. Seven universities, including Hongik University, Hanyang University and Sungkyunkwan University, received approval and will begin construction as soon as specific plans are mapped out. Ewha Womans University, Korea University, Yonsei University, and Kwangwoon University have also submitted proposals, which are still under discussion.
Ewha also plans to build a new dormitory, accommodating up to 1,300 students, by 2013. It has filed a construction plan and will start the construction as soon as it receives approval.
Students appreciate such changes and the efforts of the government and universities.
“As school dormitories have limited capacity and the rents are expensive in Seoul, students from other cities had nowhere to go,” Yoon Hyun-ji (Economics, 2) said. “But, with such efforts, I expect such difficulties in finding a place to live will be soothed.”