The Alliance of British Columbia Students will be watching the throne speech closely in hopes that students stretched budgets will see some relief. When asked, housing is regularly given as one of the primary struggles for students in British Columbia, and the ABCS would like to see the government take a proactive role to help students.
“Over the past few years we have been asking the government to enable Universities and College’s to build on-campus housing” said Sacha Fabry, ABCS Chairperson, “Putting students in on-campus housing is a no brainer. Right now, Universities are not allowed to take on debt to build housing, but we know that that is a self-financing debt, creating no cost to the Universities or the government, paid for by students housing fees. All we want is for the government to let universities build business plans and execute them.”
With over 10,000 students on housing waitlists in BC each year, and with most regional universities unable to even offer housing, the demand for on campus housing is likely more than enough to fill Rogers Arena. Building student housing on campus only requires the province’s blessing and encouragement, and could go a long way to easing the heavy demands for market rental housing and public transit to campus’s across BC, while enriching the University experience of those that attend.
Student housing fees, set below market rates, can fully finance the building of housing. UBC is in the process of completing payment on several housing buildings where the mortgages were fully funded through affordably priced student housing fees. With vacancy rates in some parts of BC below 1% and housing affordability a constant topic of conversation, the ABCS would like to see the province allow University’s to do their part, pulling students out of the housing market, and onto campus.
“It is evident that students would value housing, but more importantly, it would be good for everyone in the wider community” remarked Mr. Fabry.