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High accommodation prices keeping uni students away from Algarve

Average price per room has increased by 40% in Faro in two years

The high cost of accommodation in Faro has been named the “main barrier” keeping students from studying at the University of the Algarve (UAlg).

So said the university’s rector, Paulo Águas, during the institution’s 44th anniversary celebration, held on Wednesday at the Gambelas Campus in Faro.

According to the rector, investments made to increase social housing by 50% “will not be enough” to tackle this issue.

Data released by the Student Housing Observatory, and cited by UAlg, indicate that the average price per room in Portugal increased by 25.7% between September 2021 and September 2023, from €268 to €337. In Faro, during the same period, the average price per room increased by 40%, from €250 to €350.

To tackle this trend, UAlg has “improved accommodations conditions” for students from outside of Faro, “particularly for scholarship holders,” through programmes financed by the Recovery and Resilience Program (PRR).

“In 2023, it was possible to renew three residences, totaling 237 beds, representing an investment of €4.4 million,” he said.

In 2024, he added, the goal is to “renew 195 more beds and start the construction of two new residences that will add 287 more beds to the existing 550.”

To combat the high cost of accommodation for students, the rector advocates for a greater contribution and involvement of municipalities to “increase the supply at moderate prices.”

“While it is true that higher education is a responsibility of the central government, its impact on the towns where institutions operate is undeniable,” he pointed out.

Paulo Águas concludes that “the number of municipalities contributing directly to the increase in affordable student accommodation is growing, starting with Lisbon.”

By Michael Bruxo

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