Urgent need for student rooms, SSH& wants more student housing on campus

08 Oct 2021

Students sleep in hotels, at campsites or on a fellow student’s couch. There were already plenty of signs that there is an urgent need for more student rooms. New data confirms that the shortage is high, also in Nijmegen. The SSH& (student housing corporation) wants more housing on campus.

It’s been quiet on campus for some time, but the student room shortage is back and higher than ever. New data presented by the National Monitor Student Housing of knowledge center Kences last Thursday shows an urgent shortage of student housing. The housing market in Nijmegen is ‘very sparce’ as well.

The national shortage has grown to 26.500, Kences calculated. It’s expected that the number of students looking for a room will grow to 57.000 in the coming 8 years. If this prognosis comes true, the current building plans won’t come even close to answering the demand. Until 2025, ‘only’ 16.500 extra student houses will be built.

The supply of student rooms in Nijmegen being called ‘very sparce’, means that students are being forced to remain living at home or move to different cities. Students who are unable to find a room, but have to be in Nijmegen, stay in hotels, at campsites or look for different solutions.

Not enough

It is impossible to say exactly how high the shortage in Nijmegen is, based on the Kences report. Last year, the municipality announced Nijmegen needs about 2.000 extra student rooms. Student housing corporation SSH& is responsible for half those rooms – this is stated in the so-called performance agreements. The extra living space should be built by 2030.

The figures presented by Kences show that the current ambition is not enough to meet the demand in the future, according to Marco Schoofs, manager of strategy and living at SSH&. ‘It’s why we want to do more and will have to be more creative with the properties we already own.’

The SSH& is currently making plans for new student complexes on the Groenewoudseweg – where the GGD (municipal health service) currently houses their office – and on the Nieuwe Dukenburgseweg. At that last location, currently still an industrial park, the municipality wants to build at least a thousand temporary houses. Part of those houses will be reserved for students.

 New locations

Because of the room shortage, the SSH& has to look beyond the popular student neighborhoods around the inner city and campus in their search for new locations, says Schoofs. The corporation would like a complex in Nijmegen-Noord or in Dukenburg as well. ‘Our number one priority is making sure more rooms are available to students, so we are scouting for new locations in a bigger radius right now.’

At the same time, Schoofs is making an appeal to Radboud University. ‘Living on campus has always been appealing to students. Last year we finished building Nestor, a beautiful new complex next to the Radboudumc (academic hospital on campus, MN). We would love to build more on campus.’

For example, in the past the Erasmus and Spinoza building were named as potential locations for student housing. However, the university is yet to make a final decision about those plans.

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