CHINA / Regional

Graduates struggle to leave campus
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-07 06:02

GUANGZHOU: Finding a job is not the only challenge facing thousands of graduates in Guangzhou.

Local media reported recently an estimated 20,000 graduates in the city are still living on their old university campus, saying a lack of affordable housing means they are unable to move out.

"I didn't find a job until the end of last month. And now I am busy looking for a house, which the company will not provide," said Chen Qi, a graduate from the South China University of Technology.

College graduates are usually asked to move out in early July.

Chen said that difficulties in finding a job forced him to delay renting somewhere to live.

"Besides that, high rental costs are really frightening."

At present, the average price for rented accommodation in the southern city is 1,000 yuan (US$125) per month.

Due to increased demand after graduation, that figure is 10 per cent higher around universities, while in two areas with a particular concentration of students it is 15 per cent higher, according to a survey by property agent MyTophome.

"How can we afford it? We have no income at the moment," Chen complained.

His university asked all graduates to move out of campus by July 5, but he refused to leave.

"Finally I was asked to pay 10 yuan (US$1.25) per day to live in the dormitory," said Chen, adding that three of his classmates were doing the same thing.

As well as students preparing to begin work, many doing further studies will continue to stay on campus.

"They are staying temporarily in other dormitories, which costs them 50 yuan (US$6.25) per month," Chen said.

Only when the new school year starts in September can these students be given new dormitories by the school.

University officials said that the move of asking graduates to live outside campus is aimed at ensuring new students can have a place in a dormitory.

"Many dormitories need to be renovated before the new term, and we have to finish that in the summer holidays," said Liu Huichan, a teacher from Chen's university.

There is also the problem of students being unwilling to give up the easy campus lifestyle, Liu added.

"They are reluctant to leave campus since they are used to living here. To them, campus life is so nice," he said.

(China Daily 07/07/2006 page3)