A coalition of student groups yesterday protested in front of the Ministry of Education calling for legislation requiring universities to build dorms that can accommodate at least half of their students.
“All students ask is that schools provide a sufficient amount of affordable housing, so that they are not overburdened with financial pressure or safety concerns that arise from living off-campus,” said Tamkang University student Hsieh Yi-hung, a member of the Alliance Against the Commercialization of Education. “Many universities spend millions to billions of dollars every year building biotech labs and upgrading their medical schools, while there is a lack of projectors, dorms and teachers. They have the money, but they would rather spend it on more profitable investments, which do not necessarily benefit students.”
According to statistics for the 2017-2018 academic year compiled by the ministry, universities’ dorms can accommodate 55.5 percent of their students on average, leaving the remaining 44.5 percent, or 267,000 students nationwide, without on-campus accommodation, said Lee Rong Yu, a member of the Taiwan Higher Education Union’s youth action committee.
Soochow University has one of the lowest dorm capacities, with dorms for only 26.9 percent of its students, SCU student Liu Shu-hsuan said.
“Most students have little chance of living in a dorm after their freshman year. Students at private universities in Taipei such as SCU not only have to pay higher tuition, but also more rent. More than half of the students in Shilin District pay more than NT$6,000 per month for rent and some have student loans on top of that,” Liu said.