Five major universities in Seoul including Ewha are currently building or planning to build new dormitories until 2015 to help solve the student housing problem. The total of 3,450 rooms will be newly built in Seoul area.
The number of university students from regions outside of Seoul is about 140 thousand but among them only 30 thousand students can stay in dormitories. A majority of students are having housing issues due to the inadequate number of dormitories in campuses and Seoul’s high housing rental fees.
For these reasons, some students do not have any choice but to live in rooms which barely have enough space to lie down. Recognizing the problem, universities decided to build more dormitories on campus. These newly built dormitories are expected to relieve students’ burdens from both spatial and financial difficulties.
Chung-Ang University will build 744 additional dormitory rooms; Yonsei University will build 900 dorms; Dongduk University will build 34 dorms; Sungshin will build 570 dorms, and Ewha will build 770.
For Ewha, Yonsei University and Chung-Ang University, the schools already received permission from the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the dorms are now under construction. In the case of Ewha and Yonsei University, new dormitories are built in unused spaces on campus. On the contrary, Sungshin University arranged a new space for the dormitory complex outside campus.
Concerning the university students’ housing problems, the SMG and the Ministry of Education (MOE) are supporting universities’ plans to build new dormitories.
The MOE annually chooses five to six universities and provides funds to the selected universities through the Korea Foundation for the Promotion of Private School. However, the five universities that are currently constructing or planning to construct new dormitories are not part of the MOE’s dormitory funding, so these five universities prepared money for dormitory constructions from their own assets.
The SMG also supports universities coping with students’ housing problem by gradually relaxing building regulations since 2011. Originally, student dormitories on campus can have a maximum of 15 floors on the ground. With the relaxed regulations, however, the building can be built up to 18 floors. Also, in the past, universities had to complete the land purchasing procedures before they transfer the purchased land into campus. Many universities pointed out this regulation slows down the construction of dormitories. In accordance with these complaints, the SMG allowed 80 percent completion of the purchasing procedure. When the procedure is 80 percent done, universities can have the purchased land as a part of their campus. With these relaxed regulations and support, the SMG hopes to build more dormitories and enable 11,665 students which are 30 percent of the total needs to reside in dormitories until 2014.
Students welcome SMG’s plans to build more dormitories.
“Expanding college dormitories is essential,” Kweon Do-young (Yonsei University, 1) said. “For it is a nestling ground of knowledge and most importantly, where we feel like a college student.”