High rents in the government-controlled areas force students to decline their university admissions or rent cheap accommodation in the north, MPs heard during the House education committee on Wednesday.
In his statements after the session, the chairman of the committee Pavlos Mylonas said they discussed several issues concerning universities, while they received a “serious complaint that is offensive to all of us”.
Too many students stop their studies because of financial problems or “even worse”, Mylonas said, are “forced to rent cheap apartments in the occupied territories” which is more “insulting”.
“They didn’t give us numbers, but they are quite a few,” he said.
Measures are needed to solve the students’ housing problem, including additional rent allowance, Akel MP Christos Christofias said in a written statement.
He said there were students who have been forced to turn down their successful place for admission to a public university because they cannot afford housing costs.
“We believe that this is unacceptable in a modern society and the government cannot stand idly by and watch this situation,” he added.
The education ministry should consider increasing the rent allowance to those in need, Christofias said, so that they could be supported to study.
The opposition MP said they also requested the authorities of the University of Cyprus and Cyprus university of technology Tepak to expedite the procedures for the construction of student halls.
This was also the request of Dipa MP Alekos Tryfonides who said it is “tragic” to see students not accepting the places they have secured or rent rooms in the north to study in Nicosia.
“It is a shame for our state, for all of us,” Tryfonides said.
Concerning the issue of male students who will complete their national guard service prior to studying, MPs heard that there is a possibility those who were admitted in Tepak might lose their place.
“We are obliging our children to serve the country and they are in danger of losing the position they received the year before,” the chairman of the committee said, noting that Cypriot universities will proceed with the second and third allocation of students.
Regarding the male students who were admitted to universities in Greece, the education minister consulted with the deputy minister of education in Greece and an extension will be given for their registration.