SINGAPORE: Students in three autonomous universities have found themselves needing to look for ways to cope with higher fees for dormitory rentals, including taking on part-time jobs. Dorm fees are set to go up in August at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Singapore Management University (SMU), with increases ranging from 7 to 12 per cent.

As most students don’t normally have unlimited budgets, some have opted to no longer live on campus, according to an 8world report published this week. Others say they’ll be looking for employment.

One student quoted in the article said that the impact will be especially hard on students who live far from campus.

“They have no choice, but they need to find more jobs if the fees increase,” said Jian Jiawen (transliterated from Mandarin), who studies at NTU. She added that she and the other students don’t really understand why the dorm fees are going up this year, as well as next year.

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She also said that some students are now opting for double rooms instead of single rooms, as these are less expensive.

Another NTU student told 8world that he and his peers have no choice but to accept the fee increase. And while some have found part-time work, their studies are enough to keep them busy, and they still depend on their families to help them with their expenses.

He did add, however, that he hopes NTU can extend more help toward the students, such as giving subsidies.

8world also quoted some NTU students as saying that they’ll no longer live in the dorms, but take a taxi or a PHV to go to class instead, adding that they’ll end up paying less than if they live on campus, this way.

NTU, whose students were informed of the fee hike in March, said that due to higher operating costs, dorm fees will go up by seven to nine per cent in August, which translates to S$31 to S$68 more per month, depending on the type of room the student resides in.

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However, a spokesperson for the university said that NTU is planning on capping annual increases at S$50 to ease the burden on undergraduates.

At NUS, dorm fees are also going up between seven to nine per cent, which means an extra S$10 to S$28 monthly for students. The additional fee will go toward infrastructure upgrades and higher costs for maintenance, security, and cleaning services.

SMU has the biggest jump in dorm fees, which will rise by 12 per cent this school year.  The university explained the increase in dorm fees as needful primarily due to higher labor costs for cleaning and facilities management. /TISG

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