Blog Spotlight How the University of Victoria is helping students through Canada’s housing shortage  
UVic students chatting and laughingUVic students chatting and laughing

How the University of Victoria is helping students through Canada’s housing shortage  

In Canada, the government is facing criticism due to a shortage of affordable housing. As an international student, finding secure, affordable housing is a top priority, so it’s understandable if you feel concerned by this news.  

However, at the University of Victoria (UVic), they are aware of this issue — and working to create long-term housing solutions for international and domestic students.  

Here are some examples of how UVic is supporting students amid the current housing shortage in Canada. 

Guaranteed housing for first-year students 

If you’re joining the University of Victoria in the same year you graduated high school, you’re guaranteed on-campus housing. All you need to do is apply before the May 1 housing deadline and you can be sure of having a place to live when you start your degree program in the Fall. 

You’ll be living in the heart of the campus, with a large student community, making it easy to meet people. There are 21 dormitory buildings, with a mixture of single and double rooms, as well as 12 residences for students who want to live with others who share their academic or personal interests, so you can choose an option that suits you.

Second-year Returner Priority housing

On top of providing guaranteed first-year housing, UVic Residences also offers a Returner Priority for non-first year undergraduate students. In 2023-24, the University accommodated nearly 1,000 undergraduate students on campus, in addition to its first-year guarantee students. This means you have a great chance of living on campus for your first two years!  

“UVic Residences are an integral part of the university experience for international students. This is where they start to build community, meet a diverse group of people, and find support while living away from home. When living on campus, students are close to classes, the library, and all on-campus resources and activities.”

Chrstine Thaler, UVic Residence Services
More on-campus housing

After opening the student residence Cheko’nien House in Fall 2022, UVic added space for a further 385 students at the new Sngequ House in September 2023. These projects have added a total of 621 dorm rooms, primarily for first-year students. 

Living here, you’ll be in a central location on campus, next to the McPherson Library and near a range of other useful services. On top of having state-of-the-art classrooms, Sngequ House is also the tallest building on campus, so you can’t miss it! 

“With the opening of two new residences, UVic now has more on-campus housing then ever before. Not only does this mean we can accommodate our first-year guarantee students, it also allows us to house up to 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students through our Returner Priority and Lotteries. UVic is also investigating the feasibility of building more housing on campus.”

Chrstine Thaler, UVic Residence Services
Redevelopment of the Ian Stewart Complex 

To create even more housing for international students, UVic plans to redevelop the Ian Stewart Complex, which is located on the north side of the University’s campus. Currently home to an ice rink, it will be transformed into a mixed-use community with housing and shops, with construction starting in 2026.  

The site is 3.5 hectares in total, allowing space for plenty of rooms and social areas. It’s also in an ideal location, close to local amenities, transport, and UVic’s campus.

As you settle into life at your residence, you can also access support from the International Centre for Students (ICS). Their friendly team is on hand to provide a range of international services, giving you guidance on areas such as health insurance, banking, and much more. They’ll be there for you from pre-arrival all the way to degree completion, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them! 

Apply to study at UVic 

We hope we’ve eased any concerns you might have about student housing at the University of Victoria. If you’re ready to take the next steps towards studying here, Kaplan can help. We’re here to help you gain entry to a degree program that puts you on the road to an exciting career and support you with finding student housing in Canada

For more information, get in touch with us, and a friendly Education Advisor will guide you through your options.  

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