NTU says it is ‘still working’ to resolve hall allocation issue, cannot have a place for every applicant
SINGAPORE: The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) said on Monday (Jul 5) it was “still working” to resolve its hall allocation issue “in the best possible way”, but that it cannot offer on-campus housing to every applicant.
Laying out the issues faced by NTU, deputy president and provost Ling San and senior vice president for administration Tan Aik Na said that there has been unprecedented demand for hall places.
Applications for residential halls were 35 per cent oversubscribed compared to last year, said Prof Ling and Ms Tan in an email to students on Monday morning.
Hall availability was also cut due to national safe management measures for COVID-19, the email read.
“Even at full capacity, we will still be short of more than 1,200 hall places this year,” said Prof Ling and Ms Tan.
"Whilst we are doing all we can to help as many students as possible, we cannot have a place for every applicant because the unprecedented demand for hall places outstrips the number of available places," they said.
READ: Some NTU students fail to secure on-campus housing due to quota ‘imposed by authorities’, international students stranded
NTU's email to students is the latest update since its hall allocation results on Jul 1 left many students without a spot for the upcoming academic year.
It had also told some applicants who were already staying on campus to vacate their rooms by Jul 15, leaving many international students scrambling for alternative lodging.
The Jul 1 announcement sparked concerns from students, and an online petition for NTU to reconsider its decision garnered more than 5,000 signatures within a day.
The university subsequently said in an update on Jul 2 it had "carefully reviewed" the hall capacity and opened up more hall places.
READ: NTU opens more spots for on-campus housing after 'careful review'; guarantees placement for Year 1 and 2 students
"We acted on our students’ feedback and made an urgent appeal to the authorities on 1 July for permission to open up more hall places," said Prof Ling and Ms Tan in their email to students on Monday.
They also said that NTU prioritised the hall allocation of the additional places for all Year 2 applicants under the two-year guaranteed hall accommodation guideline; active hall residents with full hall or CCA points; as well as international students who are existing or returning hall residents.
“Given the extraordinary circumstances, the hall allocation has been prioritised for this group on an exceptional basis, because of the difficulty in getting off-campus accommodation. This is regardless of their hall or CCA activity points, and notwithstanding the fact that room allocations are not guaranteed,” they wrote, explaining the decision for international students.
“We will also consider the needs of students with particular requirements or facing particular hardship, when we allocate the additional places.”
Prof Ling and Ms Tan also said that applicants on the waiting list will be allocated a place - based on their contributions to the hall and number of hall or CCA activity points - when any vacancies arise, and if the hall capacity is further increased due to the changing COVID-19 circumstances.
In the interim, NTU is exploring increasing the coverage and frequencies of its shuttle services “where needed”, wrote Prof Ling and Ms Tan in the email.
Free heartland shuttle buses from Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Gomback, Pasir Ris, Punggol, Sengkang and Tampines to NTU will resume operations when the new academic year begins “to support the transport needs” of students who live further away from campus.
NTU had previously reduced its heartland shuttle bus services in 2019.
“We feel the anxieties of our students, and their wellbeing is our uppermost priority. We assure everyone that the university is doing all we can to assist our students in various ways,” said Prof Ling and Ms Tan.