«Without residency, it was almost impossible to take the course»

Minister inaugurated redevelopment of university residences at the University of Algarve

Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

«Nowadays, they ask for a lot of money for just a room and I would say that, without the residence, it would be almost impossible to be taking the course at this moment». João Parreira is from Santiago do Cacém, is in the third year of the Languages ​​and Intercultural Communication course at the University of Algarve and, since moving to Faro, lives in the Gambelas Campus Residence. 

João is one of the 79 students already benefiting from the requalification works of the University Residence Lot E, next to the Gambelas Campus, officially inaugurated last Friday, January 12th, by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Elvira Fortunato.

This was one of three residences at the University of Algarve (UAlg) that underwent renovation work, as part of an investment of around 3,5 million euros, financed by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) in around 70 %.

For João Parreira, who had already lived in the residence for two years, the works brought significant improvements.

«These works were very necessary, I won't say that the residence was in bad condition, but it was lacking in some aspects and, what was bad, it improved a lot. The noise issue has improved a lot, due to the double-glazed windows, the bathrooms – now we have almost a bathroom for each room -, many improvements can also be seen in the kitchen – such as induction hobs instead of a stove and more space - the rooms now have air conditioning, which also helps, and these are the essential improvements», highlighted the student.


Visit to one of the residences – Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


These are the most visible works for those who live here every day, but the interventions also focused on fire safety, thermal behavior and increased energy efficiency and water efficiency.

In terms of social sustainability, UAlg had already highlighted that «one of the objectives is not only to promote respect for the individuality of each resident, but also coexistence with each other, with the adoption of shared spaces, such as the existence of a social room , study and dining room, promoting common life».

This is, in fact, one of the aspects that also makes João enjoy living in the residence.

«The adaptation was great. I ended up being lucky enough to have compatible housemates, we talk a lot, there is coexistence between everyone, I have already made friends during the years I was in the residences, more friendships even in the residence than at the university itself», concludes the final year student.

For Paulo Águas, rector of the University of Algarve, the inauguration of the renovation of the residences is «a very important moment».


Rector Paulo Águas – Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


«The University of Algarve sought to respond in the best possible way to this opportunity we had for renovation and the construction of new residences», he stated on the sidelines of the ceremony where minister Elvira Fortunato was present, adding that UAlg obtained financing for eight residences ( six already existing, three of which have completed renovation, and two that are yet to be built).

«The University of Algarve currently has 552 beds, 28 in Portimão, 524 in Faro, and, of these 524, we are renewing more than 80%», he stressed, noting that the others were renewed a few years ago.

Regarding the presentation of projects for the two new residences, the competition is open until April 30th.

«If everything goes well, the work would start on the 1st of July, which would mean that, in the 2025/2026 academic year, in October, we would have 287 more beds», something that, according to the rector, will not solve the problem. problem.

«This increase that we will have is more than 50% of new beds. I don't want to be pessimistic, but I dare to say that it will not be enough to substantially lower accommodation prices, which constitute the main barrier for displaced students and their families", stated Paulo Águas, recalling that, from September From 2021 to September 2023, the average price per room in Portugal increased by 25,7%, while in the city of Faro the increase was 40%.

Rogério Bacalhau, president of the Chamber, reinforces that «the problem of the lack of housing for students is not just for students, but a problem for the country» and congratulates the University for, «immediately, when the warnings appeared, it began working to obtain financing and move forward with these necessary works».

«It is very important that these works are carried out. It won't solve the problem, certainly, but it will minimize it and provide conditions for a group of families. For problems of this complexity, there is never a single measure that solves them. The issue here is the combination of measures: whether through the PRR, whether through own or private funds. All aid is important and the University is working in this direction, which I think is very important», said the Farense mayor, speaking to Sul Informação. 

In the words of the minister, the government is making “the biggest investment ever in accommodation for higher education students”. «The effort will continue as planned, as I said, until 2026, and with a reinforced budget».


Minister Elvira Fortunato – Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


During a visit to the Gambelas residence, Elvira Fortunato highlighted that «each affordable student residence is an opportunity for hundreds of young people to realize their dream of higher education and allows us to improve the quality of personal and academic life of our students».

Furthermore, he also highlighted the benefit that these investments have for the region.

«Every year, the University of Algarve trains thousands of students, essential to enhance and enhance the economic fabric of the region, including displaced students, who may find here, in the Algarve, an opportunity to settle», he continued.

The UAlg residences, already renovated and officially opened last Friday, all have the same topology.

Each building has three floors, with two apartments per floor. Up to 13 students can live in the apartments, with six double rooms and one single. All apartments have a kitchen and living room.


Photos: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação