Majority of Universities in Prague Will Not Raise Meal and Accommodation Fees

In Prague, most university students will pay the same amount for dormitory housing and meals in canteens as before. While universities raised accommodation fees last year, at the beginning of the current academic year, there are no fundamental changes to prices for meals and housing.

According to representatives of Prague’s universities, the demand for student housing remains high, while interest in meals from canteens is decreasing. The Czech Technical University (CTU), Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS), and the University of Chemistry and Technology (UCT) have no plans for price increases, according to their spokespersons. At CTU dormitories, students will pay for a bed ranging from CZK 81 per night at the Strahov and Podolí dormitories to CZK 247 at the Bubeneč dormitory. At CULS dormitories, the lowest fee for a standard double room is CZK 163 per night, and the highest fee for such accommodation is CZK 63 more. UCT accommodates students at Sázava and Volha dormitories. In both facilities, living in a double room costs CZK 146 or 168 per night, depending on how many people share the bathroom and kitchen.

According to Veselá and Janovský, the interest in dormitory housing is similar to previous years, and most places are occupied. “For the academic year 2023/2024, CTU dormitories are practically full, and there are currently about 700 interested parties who have not yet been accommodated,” said Veselá. CTU manages, among other things, the largest student campus in Europe, the Strahov dormitories, and offers about 7,000 beds for accommodation. In CULS dormitories in Prague’s Kunratice, where UCT provides accommodation, are 1,500 beds available. According to Janovský, the demand for housing is now higher than the supply of beds by about six percent. CULS accommodated about 2,000 applicants at Suchdol dormitories, and the university contracted roughly 600 beds at external locations. However, not all interested parties will receive accommodation. “We reject approximately 1,400 applications out of 4,000,” said Mráčková.

Meanwhile, some universities have already raised prices for student housing, while others are still planning to do so. In all cases, the cost of student housing has risen. For example, the University of Economics, Prague (VŠE), has raised dormitory fees slightly. According to Věra Koukalová, the university’s spokesperson, the reason for the annual adjustment of prices is inflation and space renovations. “For example, in the case of Palach dormitory, the amount was CZK 206 per night, or about CZK 6,200 per month for a place in a double room in the academic year 2022/2023. In the academic year 2023/2024, it is CZK 210 per night, or about CZK 6,300 per month,” she said. Monthly prices for shared rooms in VŠE dormitories range from CZK 6,000 to 7,000. The spokesperson added that the university has a surplus of about 400 students who have applied for accommodation.

The cost of meals is adjusted continuously, and current raw material prices play a role in this. At CTU canteens, a student will pay for the main meal from about CZK 85 to 140, while the canteen prices at VŠE currently range from CZK 83 to 93 for lunch. Similar amounts are currently paid by diners at UCT canteens, which increased prices for meals in the spring of this year. “Year-on-year, the increase in the price of meals due to the increase in energy and raw material inputs has resulted in a 19.48 percent decrease in the number of diners between the academic year 2021/2022 and the academic year 2022/2023,” said the spokesperson. Specific numbers of diners were not provided.

Fewer people are also using UK canteens, where the average student lunch price is currently CZK 80. “Compared to the period before Covid, the number of servings has slightly decreased. But this trend is also generally perceived in student catering in other countries. Students are gradually returning to dining in canteens,” said spokesperson Václav Hájek. Last year, canteens in the UK served 587,372 student meals, he added.