[One of the difficulties that our students face is cost of living, housing and transportation]

Only a handful of international branch campus universities in Dubai offer accommodation on-site, including Amity University and Heriot-Watt University.

Free zones and university campuses across Dubai are being urged to provide accommodation infrastructure for students, to help push forward its bid to attract more international undergraduates to the city.

In the past, the demand for student accommodation has been low here. But as the number of students in higher education continues to grow – at an average of 10 per cent annually – so too is the demand for live-in options.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Higher Education Forum at IPSEF on Thursday, Dr Warren Fox, Chief of Higher Education at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said it is gaps like this that universities should be looking to fill.

“One of the difficulties that our students face is cost of living, housing and transportation. So we are encouraging the free zones themselves to bring in providers of housing and we’re advising campuses to build their own accommodation.”

At present, around 30 per cent of the 60,000 students in Dubai are made up of international students. But with this demographic pitted as one of the biggest areas for growth in the higher education sector, it is the demands of these students that need to be addressed.

Although on-site living is a “relatively new concept” in Dubai, Fox said it is something which has the huge support of the KHDA.

To date, only a handful of international branch campus universities in Dubai offer accommodation on-site, including Amity University and Heriot-Watt University.

And in a previous interview with Khaleej Times, a spokesperson from Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai said the city’s recent growth in the sector meant student housing hadn’t quite “caught up with the demand”. Couple that with the UAE’s strict rental laws and payment requirements, it was putting overseas students off studying here.

Source: Khaleej Times

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