About 60 percent of university students live below the relative poverty line and they skip meals due to crippling economic situation, according to the "Youth Poverty File" of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party Poverty Solidarity Office as reported by daily BirGün.
A survey of 13,000 students indicates that one of the most important problems of young people in Turkey is access to nutrition.
Even in public universities where the state subsidizes food fees, cafeteria prices have increased by 75 to 80 percent. Moreover, as seen in examples such as Ege University and 9 Eylül University in Aegean İzmir province, some universities implemented increases that exceeded 200 percent.
The report emphasized that cafeteria fees are higher than the amount of scholarships or loans provided by the state-run Credit and Dormitories Institution (KYK).
While KYK scholarship and loan amounts are 1250 Turkish liras ($46), the monthly food cost of a university student relying on school cafeteria for three meals is 1275 liras. According to the report, students skip meals at least several days a week.
Öğrencilere verilen KYK bursu 1250 TL, okul yemekhanesinde üç öğün yemek masrafı 1275 TL.— CHP Yoksulluk Dayanışma Ofisi (@DayanismaCHP) September 26, 2023
Başka bir öğrenci hayatı mümkün! pic.twitter.com/wLCVH5XcEV
Another significant issue that university students face is the worsening housing crisis. KYK dormitories and university residences are insufficient to accommodate the increasing number of students.
Also, if a student with scholarship stays a the cheapest public dorm room, they are left with only 905 liras.
The rate of young people who state that they feel happy in Turkey is 17.3 percent while 30 percent of them people feel unhappy, according to the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Association's 2023 Youth Survey.
In addition, 63 percent of respondents would like to live in another country while 71 percent think that qualifications and merit are not sufficiently taken into account in the recruitment process for public offices.
The minimum total income expectation of young people in order to lead a comfortable life was recorded as 9,000-18,000 liras with 39.3 percent while 45.2 percent recorded 18,000 liras and above.
The minimum wage in Turkey is 11,402 liras ($417). Turkey’s hunger threshold reached 12,198 liras ($446) in August, surpassing the minimum wage two months in a row.