NTU students scramble for alternative accommodation amid hall vacancies review

Victor Kang2 Jul 2021

Most of them are foreign students who are still staying in the halls since they do not have local residence. Photo: Google Street View

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students are scrambling to find alternative accommodation, after the school announced that it would reduce hall occupancy for COVID-19 isolation and other related purposes, reported The Straits Times (ST).

Most of them are foreign students who are still staying in the halls since they do not have local residence.

NTU explained that it is reviewing the number of hall places due to safe management measures, adding that demand for hall places this year had been “exceptionally strong”.

“However, with vaccinations now well underway and a good vaccination rate expected, as well as other safe management measures that we intend to apply, we are currently reviewing the capacity to allow more students to stay on campus,” a university spokesman told ST.

Over 4,700 students had signed a petition appealing the school’s decision to reduce hall occupancy.

Applications for about 14,000 vacancies at the school’s 24 halls of residence are made every year.

International students shared that they continued to stay in their halls in 2020, even as other students went home during the circuit breaker period. With the school’s announcement, students are concerned about disrupted schedules and financial issues.

If told to vacate, third-year Malaysian business student Rachel Ng said she may have to pay for the rent of her new apartment herself since her scholarship covers only campus accommodation.

“I have to get another job and try to make it work in order to pay rent,” she said as quoted by ST.

Recommended read: HDB Room Rentals Under $800 in Singapore for Those on a Budget

Vietnamese student Le Ha Phuong shared that off-campus apartments she found online will see her paying double the rental fees.

“My family’s finances are not strong and I pay for all the hall fees myself,” the third-year humanities student said as quoted by ST.

Malaysian student Jean Ku Week, who was one of the creators of the petition, revealed that a survey they had conducted showed that 90% of almost 1,000 respondents had been rejected. Almost 50% of the survey’s respondents were foreign students.

The school had also turned down many students who were guaranteed a room within a hall, including first- and second-year students as well as students with high extra-curricular activity points.

English Literature student Benedict Kwok shared that most of his classes for this semester are on-campus, “so I didn’t imagine that they would have restricted hall stay so drastically”. The second-year student would have to face a daily commute of three hours if he can’t stay on campus.

Accountancy student Ruben Selvaraju, on the other hand, thought he would be staying in his room again.

“We were all expecting it to be as per normal, given that the Covid situation has more or less stabilised… I think we are really disappointed by the lack of transparency from our school,” said the 22-year-old.


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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email: victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg


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