The university at present has 15 off-campus hostels and nine colleges with boarding facilities on their premises. Out of the nine, only five have accommodation for women.
For the estimated 1.8 lakh students enrolled with DU, there are only about 9,000 seats available in its hostels for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The varsity admits an average of 55,000 students every year.
Due to the huge crunch, many students are forced to take up alternative accommodations, which means shelling out more money and living amid security concerns.
"As if dealing with sky-rocketing cut-offs is not enough to have the privilege of studying at Delhi University, that we are now forced to run here and there looking for a suitable accommodation. It has been a fortnight since the session began, but I haven't been able to zero down on a place to stay," says Khyati Sharma, a fresher.
Ruchika Bhalla, a fresher at Venketeshwara College, says, "Even in colleges that offer hostel facilities, accommodations are provided based on merit. So, the competition doesn't end with securing a seat in a good college."
Another student Ishani Banerjee says "for girls security is a major concern while choosing an accommodation. Despite having an excellent score, one of my friend decided to take admission in a college with lower cut-off so that she can easily secure a hostel seat..."
One has to shell out anything between Rs 8,000 and Rs 9,000 for private accommodations in areas like Vijay Nagar, Hudson Lane, Bungalow Road and Kamla Nagar.
"We provide all facilities including wi-fi, laundry, cook etc. So, the prices are expected to be high. Students often complain the rates to be high but we also have to run our business and others in the nearby areas charge the same," says Shivanand Khera, a PG owner on Hudosn Lane.
Last year, a group of students had gone on an indefinite hunger strike demanding new hostels and a centralised hostel admission system.
"The strike was called off after the DU administration assured us that our demands will be considered. But there has been no progress since then," claimed Praveen Kumar, who organised the strike.
The demand for more hostels had also been raised in past by council bodies of the University as well as its students' union (DUSU) and teachers' association (DUTA).
"Out of the total number of students, not even five per cent can avail hostel facilities offered by the university. Students have been fighting for this for years, but not enough has been done. Even if they set up one or two more hostels, how would that help considering the number of students admitted every year," said DUTA president Nandita Narain.
The authorities, however, claimed that the proposals for more hostels have been under consideration and their is no laxity on the university's end.
"We came up with a hostel for 1,500 girl students in 2011. Later, we came up with a hostel for North East students. These things take time. Certain clearances are needed including those from DDA and the Horticulture Department. Even if funds are allocated for hostels, then also the process is a lengthy one," says JM Khurana, DU Students' Welfare Dean.
The off-campus hostels include boys-only Gwyer Hall and Jubilee Hall, Mansarover Hostel for Boys, Postgraduate Men's Hostel, D S Kothari Hostel for Boys, V K R V Rao Hostel for Boys, Meghdoot Hostel for Girls, University Hostel for Women, North Eastern Students' House, Ambedkar-Ganguly Students House for Women, Saramati Post Graduate Men's Hostel, Aravali Boys Hostel (South Campus), Geetanjali Hostel for PG Women, WUS University Hostel for girls and Rajiv Gandhi Hostel for Girls at Dhaka Complex. Colleges with hostel facilities are Daulat Ram College, Hindu College, Kalavati Gupta Hostel, Indraprastha College for Women, Kirori Mal College, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Miranda House, Hansraj College, Shri Ram College of Commerce and Sri Venkateswara College.