Medical, paramedical and postgraduate students are driving this shift from hostels, where crowding and poor hygiene have always been a serious concern, to rental housing.
A medical student said that many girls were leaving hostels. “Usually, medical students move to rented facilities after the final year. But this time, many second and third-year students are renting homes. The trend picked up after some hostelites, who had rejoined college, tested positive for coronavirus,” the student added.
Another student, who recently moved to a fully furnished apartment with two others, said that outstation candidates were sticking around only because of annual examinations.
But it seems affordable rental housing is in short supply. Carol Fernandes, a first-year postgraduate student, settled for a PG after she could not find an apartment within her budget in Mangaluru. “I checked out many places, but the rent was too high,” she said.
A few medical college hostels have reported several Covid-19 cases among their outstation students. The colleges had created quarantine facilities for those testing positive.
The head of a premier medical college said that students were avoiding hostels, but infection fears were not the only reason: “Hostels introduced several restrictions in the wake of the pandemic. Students find it difficult to comply with all rules, so they are moving out.”