GUG laments high rental costs affecting Gozitan students in Malta
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The Government has issued a brochure, that among other details, display the average rental prices around Malta. and the Gozo University Group said that it is concerned about these rates and the implications for Gozitan students.
The brochure is linked to the Malta bid for the European Medicines Agency and GUG said that most importantly, “these rates justify the fact that current policies favour foreigners, who have higher budgets than our own.”
“Obviously the most popular choice of tertiary education for Maltese students is the University of Malta or MCAST. These entities involve early morning lectures and late night lectures, some as late as 8pm,” said GUG.
“Living at your parent’s house a bus ride away is time consuming,” GUG remarked. “But what if you have to cross the channel to get to and from these lectures.”
“This is why most Gozitan students opt for rental accommodation in Malta. This gives students more time for their studies outside of University, and ultimately more free time.”
“Up till now, Gozitan students have managed to live in small apartments, whose landlords decided to cramp in more tenants than the justified space,” said GUG
It continued by saying that, “this year we have met a growing number of Gozitan students who were not able to rent a room or apartment close to their place of education for financial reasons.”
“In other words, 18 year olds will leave home at 6am to get to University by 8am, and if facing evening lectures, getting home around 10pm,” it said.
The Government helps these students financially by giving them €500 every three months. According to GUG,”a one bedroom apartment shared between two people in the Central area is rented at €700, which means that every three months the landlord collects €2,100.”
“Considering that the apartment is shared between two students, it will leave a burden of around €1,100 shared between two households every three months, or €4,400 a year,” the University Group said.
It added that the results of these rental rates are many
– “Fitting more people that the size of the apartment permits just so the rent can become cheaper
– Students travelling to and from Gozo, leaving them with less time to work on their studies at home and therefore dropping grades
– Households, especially those with low income or have one bread winner, experience great financial burdens
– Gozitan students quit trying to proceed with their studies because of all the drawbacks they face.”
There are some solutions to the matter:
– “Adopt a price ceiling on rental rates
– Provide housing concept in the central area, where such students can simply rent decent rooms with desks and shared kitchens/living areas
– Upgrade and start making use of the University campus in Gozo to make it easier for nearby students
– Increase monetary aid towards Gozitan Students.”
The GUG pointed out that it is however difficult to implement such policies. “For instance, who wants a price ceiling when landlords can rent an apartment to a foreigner with double the budget of a local?”
The GUG also remarked that a negative repercussion to this is the widening gap between those with a low and those with a high standard of living.
“We are living in a time and age in which foreign demand and investment has overcome the importance of our society’s welfare and in which Governments are more concerned about numbers than the standard of living. This is being felt throughout our entire Nation,” the GUG stated.
“This will all most probably fall on deaf ears, but it states the reality that most people are living in,” concluded the Gozo University Group.