First-year students are not being put off by the student loan system and do indeed want to move into rooms in Wageningen. These are the conclusions of a mini survey by Resource during the AID info market.
Two weeks ago, Idealis reported a drop in registrations for accommodation even though more students are coming to Wageningen to study. The accommodation provider put this down to uncertainty about the student loan system, which becomes effective next year. Idealis suspects that many students are staying at home one more year.
There is little evidence of that in the survey, though. Only 3 percent of the more than 100 respondents said that the loan system had had some influence on their decision not to move out into digs. The vast majority, 91 percent, do want to move into student accommoda-tion. One third of them, 31 percent, are still actively looking while the other 60 percent already have accommodation as of 1 September. A surprising fact is that as many as a third are in sublet accommodation so will eventually have to look for something else.
It looks as if there is another reason for the drop in registrations with Idealis, namely the strong growth in the private sector. Although no central records are kept of accommodation let privately, Kamernet.nl has reported a sharp increase nationally (12 percent) in the accommodation on offer. The increase is apparently related to the slump in the property market. In recent years, many property owners in both the private and business (office) sectors have started letting premises they have been unable to sell.
That trend seems to be reflected in the survey. Almost half the students with a room (including sublets) have ended up in the private sector. Most of them are in independent student houses; others are lodging with a landlady or in less common kinds of accommodation such as studio flats. Moreover, in the brief interviews we held with some first-years (see page 22), those looking for rooms usually mentioned Kamernet in the same breath as Idealis. This shows that the private sector has become a key player in the student accommodation market. It remains to be seen whether it will retain that position once the property market picks up.