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Student housing shortage

Stockholm too expensive for students

Published måndag 23 juli 2012 kl 16.07
"Could cause a brain drain"
(5:29 min)
Campus Lappis, a student housing unit in Stockholm. Photo: Anders Wiklund / SCANPIX

Young Swedes applied to university in record numbers this year. Stockholm was one of the most popular locations to study – nearly 50,000 students were accepted onto courses in the capital. But they are starting their first term at a time when the notorious housing shortage has never been worse.

22-year old Lorentz Tovatt found out two weeks ago that he had been accepted onto a political science program in Stockholm. The course was hard to get into, and now Lorentz might have to give up his place and leave his hometown of Stockholm due to the student housing shortage.

There are 80,000 students in Stockholm. Tovatt is one of the nearly 50 000 additional students who are due to start university this coming term. As it stands, there are only around 12,000 student flats in the capital.

Because of the shortage of student housing, students then have to enter into the regular housing market – and they are at the bottom of the food chain there because of their low income.

Tobias Olsson a strategist at the Stockholm County Administrive Board says the average student loan given out in Sweden means that for students like Tovatt, no student flat means no student life – Stockholm is just too expensive.

"It's also easy to get ripped off," says Emilia Wikström Melin, vice president of the Stockholm Federation of Student Unions.

Subletting is a complicated and unregulated process in Sweden – and many students who come to Stockholm from other parts of the country, or from abroad, end up paying much more than the property is worth.

"Many people don't know how much they should pay. They get ripped off because they don't know their rights", Melin told Radio Sweden.

While politicians have promised to build over 4,000 more student housing units in the future, Olsson says that's not quite enough. Changes need to be made to the regulations for subletting property in order to create more immediate results.

"It's important to focus on some short-term solutions as well. For instance, making housing available in already existing flats," he said.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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