International students relieved by guaranteed NTU hall places
University says it noted the difficulty in getting off-campus accommodation
He spent his weekend searching for a roof over his head upon learning that his application for campus accommodation in the upcoming academic year had been unsuccessful.
Thankfully, his nightmare is over. Mr Kan Kah Hou, a fourth-year Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student from Brunei, got confirmation from NTU on July 5 that international students like him are guaranteed a place to stay on campus.
An NTU spokesman told The New Paper that the school will progressively send out e-mails notifying students of their confirmed hall placement this week.
Year Two students under the guaranteed hall stay guideline and active hall residents who have received maximum hall or co-curricular activity points will also be notified.
Hall allocation has been prioritised for international students on an exceptional basis because of the difficulty in getting off-campus accommodation, said NTU.
Mr Kan, 21, who returns to Singapore on July 30, had found a few rooms in Jurong West for rent but had held off on signing the contract as he was hoping for a place in a hall instead.
"My first option would be hostel accommodation from NTU as it is cheaper. The situation was initially frustrating but I am happy to hear this," he said.
Mr Kan is one of several thousand undergraduates informed by NTU on July 1 that they would not have a room on campus for the upcoming academic year as room capacity was cut from Covid-19 restrictions.
Students living on campus were also told to vacate by July 15 or face overstay charges.
NTU's announcement saw affected students taking to social media to air their concerns. An online petition calling for NTU to revoke its decision garnered over 5,000 signatures in a day.
NTU subsequently reassured students on July 2 that it had "carefully reviewed" the capacity and opened up more hall places.
An international student from China who wanted to be known only as Mr S. Zheng, 20, is optimistic about receiving his hall allocation result soon.
"I am currently living on campus. This means I will not have to look for off-campus accommodation any more," he said.
NTU said applications for residential halls were 35 per cent oversubscribed compared with last year. One reason is that more students are staying in Singapore as overseas exchange and internships have been suspended following global travel restrictions.
Student Misa Tan, 21, said she is glad NTU has heard their concerns and is taking action.
The second-year local student's application was previously rejected despite her supposed guaranteed hall stay.
"I live in the north-eastern part, and it takes me two hours to travel to NTU. I am happy to hear of this update because having a hall room would alleviate that situation for me," she said.