Science - September 30, 2004

Furnished rooms too expensive

Many international students are unhappy with the fee they have to pay for having furniture in their room. They think it is too high and want to have the option to be able to choose for an unfurnished room if they want.

International students in SSHW accommodation are automatically allotted a furnished room when they arrive in Wageningen. They pay an extra fee for the furniture, which varies between 25 and 35 euros per month depending on where they live. This means that students in Wageningen for a two-year master’s programme end up paying over six hundred euros for their furniture. According to ISP member Oscar Yawson this is too much. ‘If you take into account the frequency of maintenance and replacement, over the whole period of time we pay more than the actual costs.’

According to SSHW vice-director Jan Harkema, students only pay a minimal amount. ‘We certainly do not make money on the furniture. That’s out of the question.’ Apart from the furniture, the inventory fee also covers curtains, carpet and painting the walls. Harkema adds that SSHW looked into several options for furnishing the rooms. As furniture from IKEA turned out to be more expensive and less robust, the current furniture was made by a local designer.

According to Yawson foreign students should also be given the option of renting an unfurnished room. ‘Why can’t we just rent an empty room and buy our own furniture? If they think we cannot do that, they should think twice. When we came to Wageningen we did not have bicycles and now we do!’ SSHW is currently looking into the matter. Harkema: ‘We are now considering the possibility of giving foreign students who are here for longer the option of renting an unfurnished room. But as we have put a stop on the number of rooms for international students, we have to consider the consequences carefully.’ / JH

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