Rising costs could lead to university dropouts in Latvia

Due to overall price increases, there is also an increase in fees in university dormitories. Some students are already having trouble, but universities say that in winter, following rising energy prices, fees could rise again, Latvian Radio reported on July 8.

People are already experiencing daily price increases in all sectors. Experts' forecasts for the upcoming autumn and winter period do not indicate any improvement. Both gas and electricity prices will rise. Consequently, building maintenance will also become more expensive. This will also affect the daily lives of Latvian students.

For example, at the University of Latvia, the fee for a place at the service hotel has already increased from 50 to 63 euros, the hotel manager Daiga Štelmahere said.

“Let's see how it's going to be. We have not planned to increase [prices for] the services provided by the University of Latvia. However, of course, if these things – electricity, waste services – grow even further, grow rapidly, then we have agreed with students that the price will have to be increased further,” said Štelmahere.

She added that some are willing to pay more, but some will have to plan their spending and ask help from parents.

There are currently five service hotels at the University of Latvia, with 1,500 spots. Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 students can be housed in the seven buildings of Riga Technical University.  Iveta Sveržicka, director of the department of service hotels, was optimistic. She said if students' interest is high and dormitories are full this year, the price increases could be overcome without change. Currently, the price range in the dormitories of Riga Technical University ranges from EUR 69 to EUR 150 per spot.

Due to increased costs, a large drop-out of students could be expected in the next school year, the Latvian Students Association told Latvian Radio. This will be influenced not only by the increasing costs of dorms but also by the rise in food and various services prices, said the vice-president of the union.

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