Case study report for the first phase of the project
Comparative study on student housing in Europe Linkages between student lifestyles and housing choices Vision for French development and experiments
Réponse à la consultation de recherche Logement et condition étudiante en France et dans l’Union Européenne, PUCA March 2007
Case study: Poland
Authors Joanna Stefanska*, Dominik Owczarek & Anna Wieczorek Miastosfera Association * the corresponding author: JLStefanska@gmail.com
Warsaw, April-May 2008
We would like to express our gratitude to Gemius S.A. company for sharing data for this report. The case study Team page 2 of 20
TABLE OF CONTENTS I. General background information 1. Basic facts of the country 2. The overall structure of the country’s higher education 2.1 Where / in which cities / areas are the universities concentrated? 2.2 The most important/largest universities in the country 2.3 Total number of undergraduate students (BA + MA) 2.4 Total number of international students 2.5 International students as submarket II. Student lifestyle 1. Typical forms of funding studies 2. Targeted support for housing cost 3. Age of alumni 4. Average age of university students 5. Student housing 5.1. Outline of the student housing system in Poland 5.2. Prices 5.3.Types and standard of student houses 5.4.Special cases 5.5. How many times does a student change housing during this period? 5.6. Families and student housing 6. The actual choice between housing options III. Policy and provision of student housing 1. The main supplier of student housing in the country 2. Funding of construction and maintenance of student housing 3. Specific good models in building student housing IV. Openings towards the detailed study 1. Describe briefly your own “housing career” as a student 2. What is typical for student housing in your country? 2.1. Choice of housing options 2.2. Standard of student housing 3. The most difficult / urgent problems that should be resolved 4. Good examples or model solutions for providing student housing that should be disseminated elsewhere in Europe 4.1. Jelonki in Warsaw – the iconic student housing area 4.2. Average standard 4.3. Renting from seniors 4.4. Examples of good student houses given by survey respondents V. Sources and interviews VI. Appendices
4 4 5 5 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 9 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 13 13 14 14 14 14 15 15 15 15 15 16 16 16 18 18 18 19 20
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I. General background information 1.
Basic facts of the country
Official name and flag
Biggest cities (regional capitals)
Official languages 
The Republic of Poland
38 125 479 (2006, Dec)  Name Warszawa Lodz Krakow Wroclaw Poznan Gdansk Szczecin Bydgoszcz Lublin Katowice Bialystok Kielce Olsztyn Rzeszow Opole Zielona Gora
Population of the city (2007)  1 702 139 760 251 756 267 634 630 564 951 456 658 409 068 363 468 353 483 314 500 294 830 207 188 174 941 165 578 127 602 118 115
Province (voivodship) Mazowieckie Lodzkie Malopolskie Dolnoslaskie Wielkopolskie Pomorskie Zachodniopomorskie Kujawsko-Pomorskie Lubelskie Slaskie Podlaskie Swietokrzyskie Warminsko-Mazurskie Podkarpackie Opolskie Lubuskie
61,3% (2006, Dec)  Polish Additionally: Belarusian (in one municipality) Kashubian (in two municipalities) Lithuanian (in one municipality) German (in 16 municipalities)
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The overall structure of the countryâ€™s higher education Note on the Polish system of higher education Basic statistics are available for various institutions of higher education (universities and other institutions of higher education that offer education equivalent to BA/MA â€“ such as: technical, agricultural, economic, pedagogic, medical, marine, sport, artistic, theological, military, administration and other professional higher education) - 448 schools in total. Such schools can function as public (130 schools) or non-public institutions (318 schools). For the purpose of this project, data have been reported on the aggregated level. Would it be necessary, more detailed listings are available for most data from the Central Statistical Office.
2.1 Where / in which cities / areas are the universities concentrated? By (approximate) number of higher schools per city (numbers given in brackets are approximate numbers of higher education institutions in each city, based on Wikipedia ). Top 8 results are listed. Warszawa (56) Krakow (23) Lodz (23) Wroclaw (21) Katowice (20) Poznan (18) Gdansk (12) By number of students per province Number of students in public and non-public higher schools by province : 400 000 350 000 300 000 250 000 200 000 150 000 100 000 50 000 0
public higher schools
non-public higher schools
For raw numbers, see Appendix 2. page 5 of 20
2.2 The most important/largest universities in the country The best universities in Poland Based on a ranking by Perpektywy 1 – the most popular Polish magazine for high school alumni . 1. Uniwersytet Warszawski (University of Warsaw) 2. Uniwersytet Jagielloński (Kraków) (Jagiellonian University in Krakow) 3. Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan) 4. Szkoła Główna Handlowa w Warszawie (Warsaw School of Economics) 5. Politechnika Warszawska (Warsaw University of Technology) 6. Uniwersytet Wrocławski (University of Wroclaw) 7. Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza im. Stanisława Staszica w Krakowie (AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow) 8. Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun) 9. Politechnika Wrocławska (Wroclaw University of Technology) 10. Szkoła Główna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego w Warszawie (Warsaw University of Life Sciences) The largest Polish universities. All Polish universities over 20 000 students  60 000 50 000 40 000 30 000 20 000 10 000 0
For raw numbers, see Appendix 3. 1
Criteria of the ranking: prestige in Poland (30%) / research potential (40%) / infrastructure (20%) / internationalization of studies (10%) page 6 of 20
2.3 Total number of undergraduate students (BA + MA) (2006, Nov) public higher education institutions (2006, Nov) private higher education institutions (2006, Nov)
2.4 Total number of international students (2006, Nov) public higher education institutions (2006, Nov) private higher education institutions (2006, Nov)
1 941 445  1 301 132 (67% of total number of students)  640 313 (33% of total number of students) 
11 752 (0,6% of total number of students)  8 767 (75% of total number of international students)  2 985 (25% of total number of international students) 
2.5 International students as submarket Universities decide individually how student housing is offered to foreign students. For example, at the University of Warsaw, management of accommodation in student housing for foreign students depends on the form of their studies in Poland. Full-time students are treated like Polish students and their accommodation is managed by the general Office for Students Affairs. Short-term students are served by the International Relations Office. In all cases reservation is made on a "first come â€“ first servedâ€? basis.  Erasmus students are served by an officer responsible for Erasmus program and accommodation for them is reserved by the officer so that everybody who requests a place actually gets it. [6, 8] Most short-term and Erasmus students seem to take this opportunity and they live in student housing â€“ they are usually clustered together in international student houses. Foreign students are generally not entitled to financial support for housing costs nor other forms of welfare scholarships . However, they may receive some types of scholarships. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education sets from time to time a quota of scholarships for persons undergoing education in Poland under international agreements or under decision of the minister responsible for higher education. Also, some Polish and foreign higher education institutions have agreements on temporary exchange of students and academic and research staff. Students can also come to Poland on one of European Union programmes: Socrates Erasmus, Tempus and Leonardo da Vinci. 
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II. Student lifestyle 1.
Typical forms of funding studies
Please indicate sources of your income/financial support in the current academic year. work/employment family support excellence scholarship welfare support loan/credit housing support other grants and scholarships I don't know/refuse to answer other sources of income it varies from one month to another pension 0%
The sum of the percentages is not equal to 100 as respondents could give more than one answer. Data source: gemiusAdHoc May 2008 . For raw numbers see Appendix 5.
Please estimate the percentage of each source of income in your budget N
other sources of income
other grants and scholarships
Data source: gemiusAdHoc May 2008 . 2.
Targeted support for housing cost  There are two forms of housing-related support for students: they can receive a place in a university-run student house and/or receive financial support for housing cost. Students can receive one or both forms of support. The financial support can be spent on paying a room in a student house or on renting a room/flat on the free market. Criteria for both forms of support are the same and must be fulfilled jointly:
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i. income per family member is below 572 PLN (ca. 160 EUR) per month ii. he/she does not live with his/her parents or other family members (does not matter if it is a student house or a private rental apartment) iii. his/her permanent place of residence is further than 50 km from the university. These criteria are never relaxed in case of financial support for housing cost. However, they can be relaxed in case of applications for places in student houses if there are free places left. For example, in 2007/2008 the University of Warsaw was prepared to support 1000 students and there were only 800 applications that fulfilled the criteria. Number of students receiving housing support in Poland (2006, Nov). Data source:  nonpublic public higher higher schools schools only support for housing cost welfare and housing support food and housing support welfare, food and housing support sport/excellence scholarship and housing support sport/excellence scholarship, food and housing support sport/excellence scholarship, welfare and housing support sport/excellence scholarship, welfare, food and housing support total number of students receiving housing support 3.
1 393 9 962 2 021 42 220 327 525 2 123
358 1 776 523 5 490 131 207 534
1 751 11 738 2 544 47 710 458 732 2 657
10 397 68 968
994 10 013
11 391 78 981
Age of alumni Data from the academic year 2005/2006 . 120 000 100 000 80 000 Number of 60 000 alumni 40 000 20 000 0 23 and less
31 and more
Age when finishing studies
For raw numbers, see Appendix 4.
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Average age of university students Data from the academic year 2005/2006 . 200000 180000 160000 140000 120000
Number of 100000 students 80000 60000 40000 20000 0 18 and 19 less
29 30 and more
For raw numbers, see Appendix 4. Data from an on-line survey (N=1321) indicated the average age of 24,31 (SD=6,25). Data source: gemiusAdHoc May 2008 . 5. Student housing 5.1. Outline of the student housing system in Poland (data source for this section: ) Student houses are possessed and managed by universities, there are no â€œprivateâ€? student houses. For example, at the University of Warsaw, each year, each faculty of the university gets a number of places in student houses. This number is estimated as a function of the number of students of the given faculty that live outside Warsaw and the number of housing requests in the previous year. As UW does not have one campus but different faculties and student houses are dispersed in different quarters of Warsaw, places are assigned to faculties based on geographical distance between the faculty and the student house. Students have to make individual requests to their faculties. Priority is given to students who have low income (student has to prove the income of his/her family in the previous year). See point II.2 for details of qualification procedure. The number of places in students houses is not increasing, the supply rate slightly overcomes the demand. There were 2700 places in 2007/2008 at UW and there were 2500 applications. This trend has been constant for the last several years. Since there is more places than page 10 of 20
applications, the economic criterion (income) is no longer decisive. Moreover, as suggested by the administration officer, students who are in need, prefer to find a cheap, illegal rental place â€œin townâ€?, rather than pay their stay in student houses. The choice of living in a student house is more of a lifestyle choice than a need for cheap housing. 5.2. Prices (data source for this section: ) Prices are defined, each year, by the university administration, they vary as a function of the standard of the house. In 2007/2008, at UW, the most expensive places cost 330 PLN (ca. 95 EUR), the less expensive about 220 PLN (ca 65 EUR). 5.3. Types and standard of student houses (data source for this section: ) There is no single rooms or individual bathrooms offered by UW student housing. The great majority of houses offer double or triple rooms. The criteria of gender and the year of the study are taken into account in roommate matches. 5.4. Special cases (data source for this section: ) However students with special needs can have a single room and individual bathroom. These are: - single mother of father with a child; - disabled person; - a family (married couple with or without a child). 5.5. How many times does a student change housing during this period? How many times have you moved during your studies? 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% never (I've been living in the same place)
more than 5 I don't times remember / it's hard to say
Data source: gemiusAdHoc May 2008 . For raw numbers see Appendix 5. page 11 of 20
In how many student houses have you lived?
more than three
Data source: gemiusAdHoc May 2008 . For raw numbers see Appendix 5.
For how many years have you lived in student housing? 35%
0% less than one year
Data source: gemiusAdHoc May 2008 . For raw numbers see Appendix 5.
See also section IV.2 for insights from the interview with a former student living in a typical student house.
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5.6. Families and student housing Yes, families are allowed to live in university-run student housing. Married couples with or without children , as well as single mothers and fathers are also entitled to have their own room (single/double) and an individual bathroom (standard higher than average). See also section IV.1 for insights from the interview with a former student living in a typical student house. 6.
The actual choice between housing options Where have you lived during your studies? with family/relatives rented apartment (alone/with friends/with a partner) own apartment/house
difficult to say
10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50%
The sum of the percentages is not equal to 100 as respondents could give more than one answer. Data source: gemiusAdHoc May 2008 . For raw numbers see Appendix 5.
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III. Policy and provision of student housing 1.
The main supplier of student housing in the country – only universities provide their students with subsidized housing opportunities. public higher non-public schools higher schools total number of student houses number of beds number of students accommodated Data source: 
444 137 473 121 485
55 6 491 5 178
499 143 964 126 663
2. Funding of construction and maintenance of student housing Universities’ costs of renovation of student housing and student cafeteria’s (aggregated data) public higher non-public schools higher schools total amount in thousand PLN amount in thousand EUR
142 167,0 40 619,1
142 719,1 40 776,9
Approximate currency exchange rate 1 EUR ≈3,5 PLN Data source:  There are no new student houses being built at the University of Warsaw.  Data about funding of construction and maintenance of university-run student houses are unavailable. 3. Specific good models in building student housing Our sources do not quote any particularly good models of newly built student housing. Most student houses were built many years ago and they are gradually being renovated. The system of supply and demand of student housing opportunities seems to be fairly stable.
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IV. Openings towards the detailed study 1. Describe briefly your own “housing career” as a student  ‘For the first three years I lived in a student house changing my room twice. (…)I lived in a student house of the University of Warsaw at Kicki Street that is quite typical for Polish student housing. I lived there for several years, about four or five, from the very beginning of my studies till I found a job and bought my own flat where I’m living with my wife right now.’ ‘I shared a room with my wife for the last two years in a dormitory opposite to the previous one. It was a double room in a unit that consisted of two such rooms. The standard was similarly low as in previous places, the only advantage of it was more space in the room and personal toilet and shower common for the unit. A few of my colleagues lived in the dormitory also with their children.’
2. What is typical for student housing in your country?  2.1. Choice of housing options (…) generally students stay at dormitories no longer than two or three years and then they move to flats rented in the city. Many of my friends left the dormitory after two or three years because the difference between prices of dormitory rooms and flats of the similar standard in the city was not very large at that time. The situation changed a few years ago when the real estate market boomed resulting in higher rents, so students came back to dormitories.’ ‘Moreover there is a great flow of immigrants from smaller towns to Warsaw (…) with a purpose to stay in the city, so they decide to buy a flat in Warsaw and live there sharing it with some friends.’ 2.2. Standard of student housing ‘At the ground level there were TV-room, laundry, study-room and some storage-rooms. (…)We used special magnetic cards to get to the dormitory, only inhabitants could access the building. Guests had to report their visit at the porter’s lodge and leave their id-cards. The main entrance was also monitored because the neighborhood was quite dangerous.’ ‘There were identical three person rooms poorly furnished and badly equipped. Everyone had his/her own bed - in other rooms you could find also double level beds. Things like: wardrobes, desks, lamps and fridges were shared – all of this in quite bad condition. We didn’t have much privacy, but it could be counted also as an advantage because it made everyone to live more common life and share their problems with others. Inhabitants of the dormitory used to meet in long corridors and in common facility rooms like the kitchen. There were also common bathrooms, showers and toilets at the end of the corridor. Construction of the dormitory was page 15 of 20
concentrated around this main corridor that transected five floor building. There were rooms and facilities on both sides of it.’ ‘Generally speaking, social life took place in the corridors, we were taking some blankets and spending time chatting. (…) I played guitar frequently, sometimes people joined me to play and sing together. We used to organize small evening parties with music and drinks. One could rent a small ballroom and have a big party for special occasions like birthdays, name days, New Year etc. The dormitory I lived in was famous amongst others because of the parties – we always had great time there.’ ‘The main advantage of living in the dormitory was social life. I met many great people that I stay in touch with till now and I can say that they are my real friends – hopefully it will stay so.’ 3. In your opinion, what are the most difficult / urgent problems that should be resolved? ‘The biggest problem to resolve is standard of buildings, facilities and equipment. In my opinion rooms are overpopulated: three persons per less than 20m2 is definitely to dense! You need minimum privacy that cannot be disturbed by anyone, even if you are a very sociable individual. Single rooms that have good communication with other rooms i.e. sharing common bathroom, toilet and kitchen would be a better solution. Small houses for several students clustered in one campus with some student activity centers: a cinema, a theater, a social meeting point or a club would be even better. The problem with commuting to the university would be resolved then as well. Now most dormitories are spread all over the city.’ ‘Dwellers would feel secluded and more attached to their flats, if the rooms were less numerous and dormitories clustered. That would probably imply more responsibility for the place, more individual approach - not anonymity like in my dormitory. So I would reduce the number of people per room. Also change of furniture and equipment is necessary. I would recommend arrangement of some social space on every floor to avoid use of uncomfortable corridors - now there is some empty space near staircases that could be used for that purpose. Dormitory administration could put some armchairs, tables, shelves and arrange the space more comfortable.’
4. Good examples or model solutions for providing student housing that should be disseminated elsewhere in Europe 4.1. Jelonki in Warsaw – the iconic student housing area [11, 12] Jelonki neighbourhood is an iconic student housing area in Northern Warsaw. It was built in 1952, originally as a settlement for Soviet workers who were building the Palace of Science and Culture. It constituted an independent urban unit, consisting of single family houses for the management staff and barracks for the labour force as well as a cinema, a canteen, a club, a library, a post office, a bath house and a boiler-room. It was surrounded by barbed wire fence
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and guarded by armed soldiers. In 1955, after construction of the Palace was completed, the estate was turned into student housing for nearly 3000 students. Wooden houses have been colourfully painted, and the area became a student town, with lots of greenery, charming streets and little houses. After a bus line was established to connect the area with the city centre, the place soon became famous for its vibrant student nightlife and small scale cultural events (such as poetry nights etc).
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4.2. Average standard The average standard of Polish student housing includes provision of the following facilities: - security system, magnetic card access system - convenient location near popular faculties - shared bathrooms and toilets - sink in each room - phone landline in each room - broadband internet connection in each room - shared study rooms - computer room - laundry room with several washing machines - table tennis and snooker tables - vending machines with snacks and soft drinks - small grocery shop - canteen - self-service copy room - several rooms adapted for disabled people 4.3. Renting from seniors What is interesting for student accommodation in Poland, is the phenomenon of students living with seniors. In many cases it is a win-win strategy. Seniors can support their (usually very low) retirement pensions with additional income and they have company (particularly important for widows and widowers). Students can have fairly cheap accommodation and some guidance and advice. I personally [JS] know cases of such arrangement that were very rewarding for both interested parties. 4.4. Examples of good student houses given by survey respondents  1. University campus of AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow (Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza im. Stanisława Staszica w Krakowie 2. Military University of Technology in Warsaw (Wojskowa Akademia Techniczna) 3. Student neighbourhood Kortowo in Olsztyn 4. Campus of Warsaw University of Life Sciences (Szkoła Główna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego w Warszawie) 5. Student housing of The College of Social and Media Culture – a private school run by an extremely controversial Catholic priest 6. Student housing of the Business College National-Louis University in Nowy Sącz (Wyższa Szkoła Biznesu w Nowym Sączu) 7. A student house in Leszno run by a private owner 8. Student housing of Warsaw University of Technology 9. Old town house in post-industrial city of Lodz that was renovated and turned into student apartments
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V. Sources and interviews  Central Statistical Office (2007). Population. Size and structure by territorial division as of December 31, 2006. Information and statistical papers. Warszawa: Central Statistical Office, Social Statistics Division.  Polska [online]. Wikipedia : wolna encyklopedia (in Polish). Retrieved on 2008-04-20 10:38 from http://pl.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Polska&oldid=12208560a  Szkoły wyższe w Polsce (Higher education in Poland)[online]. Wikipedia : wolna encyklopedia (in Polish). Retrieved 2008-04-22 17:11 from http://pl.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Szko%C5%82y_wy%C5%BCsze_w_Polsce&oldid=11489191  Central Statistical Office (2006). Higher education institutions (schools) and their finances. Information and statistical papers. Warszawa: Central Statistical Office, Social Statistics Division.  Ranking Szkół Wyższych 2007 (Ranking of higher schools in Poland 2007) (2007). Perspektywy. Retrieved 2008-04-22 18:36 from http://www.perspektywy.pl/index.php?mid=rsw_wyniki_2007#1  University of Warsaw, Bureau of Students Affairs (2008). Interview with an officer of the Bureau who refused to give her name.  Interview with Michał, 28-years old alumnus of the Sociology Department of the University of Warsaw who lived in student housing in 2000-2005.  International Relations Office (2008). University of Warsaw. Retrieved 2008-04-29 from http://www.bwz.uw.edu.pl/eng_version/accommodation.htm  Higher Education Act (2005). Ustawa o Szkolnictwie Wyższym, z dnia 27 lipca 2005, Dz.U. 164 poz. 1365.  Scholarships for foreigners (nd). Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Retrieved 2008-04-29 from http://www.eng.nauka.gov.pl/ms/index.jsp?place=Menu08&news_cat_id=453&layout=2  Majewski, J.S. (2007). Jelonki i Przyjaźń. http://miasta.gazeta.pl/warszawa/1,80371,4120807.html
 Osiedle Przyjaźń (Warszawa) [online]. Wikipedia : wolna encyklopedia, 2008-04-12 Retrieved from: http://pl.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Osiedle_Przyja%C5%BA%C5%84_%28Warszawa%29&oldi d=12108822  Gemius (2008). Students’ life conditions and perspectives. On-line gemiusAdHoc survey, May 2008.
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Appendix 1. A map of Poland with division into provinces (wojewodztwo) Appendix 2. Excel file Poland_number of students by province.xls – contains raw numbers used for the chart. Appendix 3. Excel file Poland_biggest universities.xls – contains raw numbers used for the chart showing all Polish universities over 20 000 students. Also, contains a list of the biggest universities in each province. Appendix 4. Excel file Poland_age.xls – contains raw numbers used for the chart. Appendix 5. Excel file Survey results.xls – contains raw numbers from the on-line survey performed by Gemius SA.
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