In principle, the decision has been taken: the university wants to discontinue the Guesthouse organisation, which offers and manages furnished rooms for foreign students. An external party is being sought to take over the operation. It remains to be seen if this will succeed.
The UM currently also pays for vacant rooms, which after all must be available for foreign students. The costs involved amount to about three hundred thousand euros a year, says Maurice Evers, head of the Guesthouse; by charging students 39 euros more in rent, this figure has now been halved. Eventually the UM wants to have even lower expenses, preferably outsourcing the entire operation, which is in line with the policy to cut back on everything that is not a core university task. The catering, for example, that has been taken over by the Albron company. There will be a European tendering procedure, but the most likely candidate to take over the Guesthouse organisation appears to be the Dutch privatised student housing foundation (SSH) from Utrecht. SSH already has offices in Leeuwarden, Zwolle and Tilburg.
It has not yet been decided what requirements will be set for the takeover candidate. “We will continue with our market consultation to see what is realistic. If you set the requirements too high, no party will be interested,” Evers says. He emphasised that the outcome is still uncertain: “It is possible that the UM decides to continue after all.”
This would also avoid the need for a redundancy plan for the current UM employees involved (5.4 FTEs).