Home English Radboud to stop providing room guarantees for internationals, ISEC: ‘ridiculous’

The Radboud University (RU) will stop providing room guarantees for international bachelor students starting from 2024-2025. They will have to participate in a lottery system along with other students. However, starting from June, SSH& (Student Housing Agency) will also expand the travel urgency, giving international students priority for more accommodations.

The RU has announced that it will cease room guarantees for international students. As a result, from 2024-2025 onwards, they will no longer be assured of housing when they begin their studies in Nijmegen. In response, SSH& has extended the travel urgency to their accommodations. Not only at Vossenveld but also at Hoogeveldt and Leeuwenstein, students who have to travel for more than two hours will have priority for rooms starting from June 1st. This expansion will last until November 1st. Student representatives have responded differently to this news.

According to Mo Quirijnen, the chairman of the student union AKKU, there are two sides to this policy change. ‘On the one hand, it is a fairer policy. Rooms should not be used as bait, and this way, it shows a realistic picture of the housing problems.’ On the other hand, this policy undermines the idea of creating an international classroom at the RU. ‘Now they are showing that it is not a priority, and that is unfortunate.’

Quirijnen also approves of SSH& expanding the travel urgency. ‘You cannot simply take away everything from international students and not offer anything in return.’ However, there is a catch here as well, and Quirijnen refers to students who fall just outside the travel urgency criteria. ‘If you live in West Brabant, you still have to travel long distances but do not qualify for the travel urgency. It would be nice if something could be done about that as well.’

‘Every student has a right to proper accommodation. Even if you don’t have to commute from very far away, that doesn’t mean you should have trouble finding a room for all those years you are a student at Radboud,’ Quirijnen says. ‘AKKU’s message remains consistent: make sure there is enough accommodation for everyone, because the municipality is currently not putting in enough effort. Radboud and SSH& could do a better job of lobbying for more accommodation. As it stands now, SSH& won’t be able to reach its own goals for increasing the housing stock.’

Consequences for international students

Parker Winkel, faction leader of the recently elected international student party ISEC, is not in favor of abolishing the guaranteed housing for international students. According to him, as an international student, you are already at a disadvantage. ‘It is very difficult for internationals to compete in the housing market,’ says Winkel. ‘On the one hand, this is because they are not familiar with how the system works here, and on the other hand, because there is a lot of discrimination against international students.’ By eliminating the housing mediation for internationals and having them compete with Dutch students, this situation only worsens. ‘It is incredibly ridiculous that internationals would be admitted to a program but would not be able to live here,’ Winkel expresses. ‘Not even Kafka could write something like this.’

Therefore, the faction leader advocates for a central housing portal that presents all available rooms with their rental prices in an organized manner. ‘We want it to be easier for everyone to find a room,’ Winkel explains. ‘After all, there was a reason why the old policy existed in the first place.’ Currently, it is up to the Board of Directors (CvB) to determine the university’s housing policy. ‘It is up to them whether they want to be on the right side of history.’

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