Manitoba post-secondary students face housing challenges amid new semester start – Winnipeg


Post-secondary students in Manitoba are returning to the school grind, only this time they are facing high inflation and a limited housing market.

The limited options are leaving students to consider other locations for housing that may not be close to the school they will attend.

“If I can stay near the university, it will be easier for me to travel to the university and everything,” said Devjit Sinha, a graduate student.

Sinha said he is now having to expand his search for areas outside of what he had originally hoped.

The University of Manitoba says its on-campus residences are completely booked, as are Red River College Polytechnic’s units in the Exchange District.

“That residence has been full since June, and so we know that students are struggling with housing,” said Christine Watson, vice-president of Academic, Red River College Polytech.

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Meanwhile, U of M Student’s Union president Tracy Karuhogo said others are struggling with affordability.

“If housing on campus is not cheap and housing off campus isn’t cheap as well, it makes it really difficult,” she said.

“I have talked to students as well, whereby you’ll find that they are leaving three of them in a one-bedroom because they want to cut up the costs.”

Click to play video: 'RRC says enrolment up as new school year begins'

RRC says enrolment up as new school year begins

She says her union is advocating for better data, so the government can develop a plan to resolve student housing troubles.

“We are trying to really find out what’s the root cause, how far does this situation go?” she said. “Or what supports don’t international students have that they are falling for scams every time?”

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“I think having that data would really help the government create a plan and a policy book in order to make sure that housing is really tackled.”

Watson says enrollment is still on an upswing coming out of the pandemic for both domestic and international students and people are still choosing careers amid challenges with housing and inflation.

“We’re seeing people who are thinking about new careers or shifting careers coming out of, you know, a really difficult time,” she said.

“We also see a lot of people coming back for upskilling and reskilling as technology changes or as their jobs change.”

According to electrical engineering student Lenny Bega, Manitoba is one of the cheapest places to live in Canada, but there are still difficulties.

“If you are an international student, inflation is something that you have to think about it because we are paying three times more than the average student.

Watson says they want to make sure both international students and students from Manitoba are really supported in their search for housing because they are competing for the same housing market as other people in the community.

— with files from Global’s Rosanna Hempel

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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