The Gozo University Group in a statement today has pointed out the urgent need for a solution to the shortage of suitable student accommodation in Malta
It said that every Gozitan student over the age of 18 has a choice to make: either stay in Gozo and try to find a job, or continue studying and cross over to Malta.
“Many of these students choose to move to the mainland where they can further their studies. This means that unless they want to face the Gozo Channel everyday, they have to buy or rent a flat.” The GUG added that most students opt for the latter which brings about many challenges.
“Most of these challenges are of course financial,” remarked GUG. “Some are lucky and have their own apartment – sometimes thanks to their parents indebting themselves – others are not as fortunate.”
This year, the GUG said that it has been contacted by various students who have to cross the channel everyday because they could not find accommodation with a rent which suited their budget.
“This problem is becoming even more common as the years go by. Students are being asked for too much money. This is partly because of the new betting companies which employ foreign workers,” it stated.
The GUG stated that these workers can pay a monthly rent of €1000. “This means that many landlords prefer to rent out to a wealthy foreigner rather than a couple of Gozitan students,” it said.
The Organisation said that many people argue that Gozitan students are favoured over Maltese students. “The €500 grant every three months is the cause of many a heated discussion on Internet forums. This ‘controversial’ grant is unfortunately, not enough.”
It pointed out that the average rent per month for a student is around €150 this is of course excluding the internet, water and electricity bills. “These students are still dependent on their parents so this is a huge financial strain on the entire family.”
The GUG went on to say that it has spoken to higher authorities to try and raise this grant. “The authorities however, believe that if this grant were to be raised, the landlords would only raise the rent even more.”
The Organisation commented that it “does not think that this is true as even without the grant being raised, the landlords are still increasing the rent every year.”
The Gozitan Organisation, stated that it intends on making change easier and said that it “has held talks with the President of Malta to try and get funds to be given to less privileged students in order to make the transition easier.
“Besides having to transfer their whole lives to Malta, Gozitan students have to learn to be independent while having to pay vast amounts of money to enjoy the same University experience as their Maltese counterparts.”
“If we boast that Malta has the right to free education, then why is it that Gozitans have to pay so much more money in the name of education?” The Gozo University Group asked.