Recent protests at Tbilisi State University demonstrated the precarious conditions of students, particularly those from the regions, on the capital’s housing market. Hence, the Georgian government should put students on the agenda of social housing policies and recognize students as vulnerable group eligible for state housing support. A student housing strategy is key to promote educational equity in the country and to enable young people to access the social and economic opportunities of the capital.
Student protests erupted at Tbilisi State University (TSU) in April, following the universities decision to return to in-class teaching after a long period of Covid-related distance learning. The rallies organized by the “Fight for Education” movement gained momentum in May, when protests took place almost every day and attracted hundreds of participants. Their main demand to the university management was to offer a hybrid-teaching format, so that students from the regions would have had the opportunity to continue their studies from distance. While it was consensus within the movement that in-class teaching provides a higher quality of education, their demands arose given the recently severely aggravated housing crisis in Tbilisi, which left many students from the regions without accommodation in the capital.
Since Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, tens of thousands of Russians, alienated by the increasingly totalitarian Putin regime, arrived in Tbilisi, introducing a new dynamic to the capitals housing market. Consisting of two thirds of IT-specialists and managers, the budget of Russian migrants tends to outweigh the financial capacities of people earning local salaries, threatening the established communities with eviction. Additionally, there was an influx of refugees from Ukraine, which further accelerated the competition for housing. Rent prices in central areas of the city increased two or threefold, but also peripheral areas witnessed substantial price hikes. Meanwhile property owners seized the opportunity to remove their former tenants and replace them with wealthier newcomers. Since the decision of state universities to continue the semester with in-class teaching coincided with the arrival of Russian migrants, skyrocketing rents and increasing housing scarcity in Tbilisi, the housing market exposed the vulnerabilities of students, which were pushed beyond their financial capacities, evicted, and left behind.
At first, the Georgian government might not seem to bear responsibility for a housing crisis caused (or rather exacerbated) by an external event. However, taking a closer look, the inability of the government to offer a solution stems from a lack of strategic engagement in the past, such as through the creation of a state-owned housing stock or legal instruments to regulate the market. For students originating in towns and villages, the issue of housing is a huge financial burden and the main challenge to overcome when planning to move to Tbilisi to obtain higher education. Given the fact that most of the prestigious universities of Georgia are concentrated in Tbilisi, graduating from a regional university means being in a less favorable position when entering the labor market. The Georgian government acknowledged the enormous educational disparities between the capital and the regions and expressed its commitment to support students from the region to access higher education in Tbilisi. However, since affordable housing is key to facilitate access to education for students from the regions, the neglect of a student housing strategy risks to undermine all efforts to overcome the educational divide between the capital and the regions. The scarcity of affordable student housing thus threatens to deepen social and regional cleavages simultaneously, while further alienating the regions from the social and economic opportunities the capital offers. Therefore, a student housing policy has to form the core of a strategy for educational equity.
This article presents the results of a comprehensive research, which included interviews with housing market experts, practitioners working for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development, scholars researching educational policies, and representatives of the TSU student movement. Additionally, I observed several protests at TSU. The first chapter elaborates on the challenges students from the regions face on the housing market of Tbilisi. Secondly, I analyze the state housing policies towards students. Thirdly, I discuss the link between affordable housing and educational equity, in light of Georgia’s state policies to promote accessibility of higher education for students from the regions. The article concludes with four policy recommendations for an equitable student housing policy and improved educational accessibility.
Students in the housing market of Tbilisi
While the recent student protests demonstrate the urgency to provide affordable housing to students, the housing problem existed for decades. When the higher education sector of Tbilisi grew in the late Soviet period, there were no sufficient measures to satisfy the demand of affordable student housing, and this lack of commitment endured until the present day. Official figures on the overall number of students from the regions studying in the capital are scarce, making it difficult to measure the precise demand of student housing. Concerning Tbilisi State University, the institution hosts 24.000 students, while 9000 students come from the regions. This indicates that almost 40% of the students of Tbilisi’s largest university are not originally from the capital, facing the challenge to relocate and find affordable accommodation in Tbilisi. These students have three opportunities to meet their needs of housing: student dormitories, family networks, and the free market.
Student dormitories: few capacities and low standards
There are two dormitories built by the state and formally owned and managed by TSU, providing a total number of 716 places. The Bagebi dormitory consists of two blocks, built in 1975, offering housing to 396 students for a monthly rent of 50 GEL (16 Euros). Students strongly criticize the state of despair of the buildings. According to representatives of the “Fight for Education” Movement, the Bagebi dormitory has no Wi-Fi, no heating and very few bathroom and kitchen facilities. Furthermore, cracks in the walls reportedly pose a security risk to the inhabitants. Given the dangerous living conditions in the buildings, the Bagebi dormitory is very unpopular among the students and usually, some rooms are unoccupied. While TSU acknowledges the urgent need for refurbishment, there are no plans to renovate the Bagebi dormitory, given the high estimated costs.
The second dormitory is the Lisi dormitory, which was built in 2017 to provide accommodation for 320 students. Announced in 2014, the student housing was constructed under the auspice of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, with a total cost of 5.2 million GEL (1.6 million Euros), provided by the state. The rent for a shared twin room is 150 GEL (47 Euros). The modern building includes sport facilities and a computer room. Unfortunately, there are problems with the ventilation that result in mold formation. Additionally, the dormitory earned criticism for its peripheral location, demanding the students to commute for at least 50 minutes to the main campus of TSU. Nevertheless, in its first year of operation, the dormitories’ administration received 10.000 applications, proving the drastic disproportionality of demand for and supply of affordable student housing. The first 120 places were reserved for foreign students enrolled in international degrees, while the remaining 200 beds were distributed according to criteria of social need and academic achievement. The high number of refused applications suggests that the majority of students relies on the free market to satisfy their housing needs.
The family as institution to cover the state neglect
Since the amount of places in dormitories is very limited, family networks need to partly compensate for the lack of student housing infrastructure. If students have family members or relatives residing in Tbilisi, it is a common practice to receive some living space in their apartment. However, students perceive sharing an apartment with relatives as a constraint to the social aspects of student life. Still, in the absence of sufficient state policies, family ties play an important role in covering the lack of student housing. Additionally, few families have the financial means to purchase housing in the capital. Particularly economically successful families purchased housing properties in the outskirts of the city, as a future investment in their children and their educational opportunities. While this option is only available for very few students of financially well-situated families, buying private property for studying in Tbilisi still plays a marginal role in accommodating students from the regions.
Free market: precarious conditions of rent financing
The free market offers students to rent apartments with friends and fellow students in order to share the flat and rental costs. Most families, however, have little financial capacities to support their children with the rent and are exhausted with paying tuition fees and daily expenses. This creates an enormous financial burden for the students and their families. Therefore, students often rely on unqualified low-paid employment to cover the rent. Common student jobs are in the service sector, e.g. as supermarket cashiers. Since there is no minimum wage in Georgia, students are forced to work up to eight hours each day to earn as little as 300 GEL (approx. 95 Euros). While this is equal to a full time job, it does not generate the income needed to pay for the monthly rent. Therefore, many students report difficulties to reconcile their studies with their work and have to neglect their studies to afford their rent. Another strategy is to relocate to cities adjacent to Tbilisi, where the rents are cheaper, such as Rustavi. However, this means long commuting distances and enormous time spent in public transport. As the tuition fees, daily expenses and monthly rent combined create a huge financial burden, the inability of students to cover the housing expenses might be a decisive factor in abandoning study plans. Research on the suspension of the student status reveals that mainly students that moved from the regions to Tbilisi’s universities terminated their studies for financial reasons. In 2020, the Ministry of Education reported an all-time high in the number of students suspending their student status. Out of 73.000 students, more than 29.000 students named financial debt as the reason to quit university.
The war in Ukraine as an external shock to the housing market
Being strongly dependent on the free market to satisfy their needs for housing, students are highly vulnerable to the uncertain developments of the market. The enormous financial load that students from the regions face has forced them to accept a precarious life style at the expense of their academic and personal development. However, the most recent trends in the housing market pushed them to the verge of existence, making their study plans economically unviable. Prior the war, the private market used to accommodate the housing needs of the majority of students, even though the rental prices forced students to focus on working rather than studying. Now, the war seriously aggravated the housing crisis and rendered the private market completely inaccessible to most students. In the absence of legal instruments to regulate the market dynamics of rental prices, and given the scarcity of dormitories, students are exposed to the dynamics of the market and left alone in their economically vulnerable position. Ultimately, the state has failed to build the capacities to react to external shocks to the housing market and rejects its responsibility to facilitate the access to higher education for students from the regions.
There are no official numbers that confirm how many students are threatened to lose their student status as they are unable to return to the classroom. However, the “Fight for Education” Movement reached out to the students of TSU and collected 3000 cases where students report problems to find accommodation in Tbilisi. While this is a third of TSU’s students from the regions, there is a high chance of underreporting, given the limited resources of the “Fight for Education” movement to conduct their research.
Students and state housing policies
Georgia’s state policies for social housing are mainly preoccupied with IDPs and eco-migrants, and students are not defined as vulnerable group eligible for state housing support. The only opportunity for students to apply for state support is to qualify as homeless person and to apply for a small grant to support rent payments for maximum two years. At the same time, when defining legally who is eligible for state housing support, the Georgian government describes homelessness very narrowly as “a person who lives roofless” and “is on the streets”, instead of applying a wider definition of people without permanent residence, living in inadequate conditions, which limits the chance for students to be recognized as beneficiaries. In the absence of an elaborated housing strategy for vulnerable people and given the scarcity of social housing, students rely on their family and relatives instead. The Georgian state seems to consider housing issues only in urgent crises, and does not employ any preemptive measures or a strategic approach to the housing issue. Urban development is rather capital-driven, endorsing agendas of private investment. Excluding affordable housing from the agenda is justified with the lack of state budget, which would not allow the state to finance large projects.
Scattered responsibilities and fragmented strategies: the relationship between state institutions
The responsibilities for housing are distributed among several ministries and governmental agencies. On the strategic level, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainability is responsible to elaborate urban development plans and provide the budget for their implementation. The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure (MRDI) receives instructions from the Ministry of Economy to implement the plans. Currently, the Department for Urban Planning is part of the MRDI, reducing its responsibility to the mere execution of urban development plans, while excluding the departments’ expertise from the strategic level and budgeting. The tasks of the Urban Planning Department are finding and designating land for social housing, defining the standards of the building, and announcing the competition to find a private company to build the housing. But the department is not involved in drafting any overarching urban development strategy. However, there are plans to relocate the Urban Planning Department to the Ministry of Economy and upgrade it from a state department to a state agency. This will increase its institutional capacities and strengthen the urban planning expertise within the process of strategizing and budgeting.
Simultaneously, the responsibility of designing state housing policies and the legal framework is delegated to the Ministry of Health, Social Affairs, Labor, and IDPs. This demonstrates the governments’ understanding of social housing as a small-scale state service for a narrowly defined vulnerable group, instead of a major task of urban planning with strategic importance for larger parts of society. Housing is not considered a fundamental societal need and the state is only willing to assist the most marginalized. Furthermore, splitting the tasks of social housing between the three different Ministries of Infrastructure, Economy, and Health and Social Affairs resulted in a strong fragmentation of responsibilities and created communication challenges. As interviews with experts revealed, the scattering of social housing related duties seems to have produced a lack of responsibility and agency on the part of the different state departments and agencies, prompting inaction and apathy.
Furthermore, interviewees suggested that responsibilities appear to be often delegated down to the municipal level, which lacks the budget and capacities to solve the issue. A small budget allocated for “social needs” is transferred to municipalities, allowing to respond to the most urgent social crisis. The purpose of these funds is vaguely defined, offering local agents opportunities to take their own decisions on how to use the funds. Some municipalities might decide to use the funds for housing issues, other local actors prioritize different social causes, resulting in huge variation in the supply of social services among the municipalities. In the seemingly poorly coordinated interplay of different ministries and municipalities, answers to combat the housing issues remain fragmented, and a comprehensive strategy is missing.
TSU as a site of contestation: the role of state universities
When protests emerged at TSU, the main demand was to offer hybrid-teaching formats. While this provides a short time relief for the students to reorient and think of new strategies to finance their housing, it is not clear whether rents will decrease until the beginning of the fall semester. As students focused their protest on the most urgent need of hybrid teaching, the university management became the focal point of criticism. However, the housing crisis cannot be solved without a large orchestrated political effort, involving responsible state institutions and state budget. Otherwise, the housing problem will constantly resurface, while the scope of the crisis will gradually worsen.
While TSU legally owns the state-financed dormitories, it has little budget and administrative capacities to maintain the facilities or even enlarge the infrastructure. Given the chronic underfunding of educational institutions, the budget of state universities mostly consists of private household sources, usually paid in the form of tuition fees. Furthermore, the spending of Georgian GDP on higher education is exceptionally low compared to other countries with similar socio-economic characteristics. Moreover, although the small funding provided by the Ministry of Education does not enable the state universities to build student dormitories themselves, the Urban Planning Department and the Ministry of Infrastructure have not announced any plans responding to the recent protests either. While the Ministry for Infrastructure fully funded and built the Lisi dormitory, the Ministry of Education and TSU plan to build another dormitory near the Maghlivi block of the University through a public-private-partnership that envisages a private investor to fully finance the construction.
Will the Maghlivi dormitory solve the housing crisis?
In 2018, the Ministry of Education announced the construction of a dormitory for 3000 students on the TSU Campus in the Maghlivi area of Tbilisi. Accessible for students of all state universities, a dormitory of this size could significantly ease the student housing crisis. The Ministry was confident to attract private investors to finance the dormitory, to assign the project to a company by the end of 2019 and to begin the construction in early 2020. However, the process did not advance beyond the initial announcements. While TSU claimed that the Covid pandemic hindered the completion, students from the “Fight for Education” Movement believe that the project was delayed because the university failed to find a private investor for the project.
Given the recent protests at TSU, the universities’ administration renewed their efforts to find an investor by launching an online tender that reveals further details about the plans for a public-private-partnership. The university plans to lease the land to a private investor for 39 years for building a dormitory for 3000 students, an indoor sports complex with a gym, an indoor pool and further recreational spaces. Furthermore, the university offers to gift 5000 square meters for commercial purposes as incentive to the investor. The winning company is entitled to use this space for 79 years for private business purposes to make additional profit. The monthly rent in a shared room is set for 120 USD, while the price for a single room is not allowed to exceed 250 USD. The enduring search for an investor raises concerns about the universities ability to attract a private company to build the dormitory, but at the same time the rents fixed in the contract are barely below the level of the free market, even in times of crisis. As the monthly costs for a shared room will be almost three times more than in the Lisi dormitory, the Maghlivi dormitory is unlikely to provide a financial relief.
Clearly, the neoliberal concept of outsourcing the provision of social services to a private investor will not satisfy the demands for affordable student housing, given the high rent prices the project offers. As the unfavorably high rents determined by the project proposal reduce the potential of the Maghlivi dormitory to ease the student housing crisis, the “Fight for Education” Movement demands the state to finance and built the dormitory by itself. While the students perceive their right to education and affordable housing as a social matter, the government and the TSU administration adopt a neoliberal stance, de facto rendering education and student housing as a privilege, available for students with wealthy families. Furthermore, critiques question the genuine commitment of TSU to build the dormitory, seeing the current online auction rather as a tool to pacify the student protests and to disperse the public pressure.
Educational policies and regional inequality in higher education accessibility
The urgent need for affordable student housing becomes particularly apparent when considering the enormous educational disparities within Georgia, which requires students from the region to relocate from their places of origin, in order to access a high quality education. Geographically, the most prestigious universities are concentrated in Tbilisi, while the regions host the least reputable educational institutions. Additionally, the regions of Guria, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Svaneti and Kvemo Kartli do not offer any public university education to their inhabitants. The universities of Tbilisi are significantly privileged in their variety of degrees and specializations offered extent of internationalization, equipment of labs, and availability of digital and technological devices. While the capitals’ universities feature the professors with the highest academic output and prestige, offer Erasmus exchange semesters and have the chance to invite foreign lecturers, the universities in the regions provide much less educational opportunities. Moreover, their activities are usually limited to teaching students and do not include significant research.
Regional disparities and unequal distributions of educational opportunities thus position young people from the regions in a much less favorable position to obtain a high quality education, as they have to deal with the challenge to relocate to the capital and the financial burden of rent prices. As moving to Tbilisi is the only chance to receive a better education, it is essential to offer the infrastructure that enables young people to move to the capital. This demonstrates the strong interlinkage between the lack of affordable student housing and educational equity. The absence of a student housing policy deepens the educational divide between Tbilisi and the regions, while further alienating young people from rural areas and towns from the social and economic opportunities of the capital. An EU-report acknowledges the far-reaching implications of the educational divide for employment options:
“Applicants from rural areas and small towns are much less likely to gain access to Georgia’s most prestigious or second most prestigious HEIs [Higher Education Institutions]. Consequently, these individuals tend to be in a less favourable competitive position when entering the labour market”
Since education is an important motor of socio-economic development, the inaccessibility of high quality education for people from the regions threatens to exacerbate the regional disparities within the country. When few people from the regions attend higher education in Tbilisi and even fewer of them return to the regions, the chance of knowledge transfer from the capital to the regions is small, resulting in further socio-economic decline outside of Tbilisi and a widening of socio-economic gaps.
Policies for educational equity: how does the state support students from the region?
Georgia’s Regional Development Programme (2018-2021) addresses the unequal access to higher education. In the problem analysis, the strategy acknowledges the extremely low share of the Georgian GDP spent on higher education, the challenges of socially disadvantaged youth to access higher education, as well as the strong regional disparities in educational opportunities. According to the strategy, “physical and financial availability of educational institutions appears to be an issue of primary concern” and the government plans to “increase the quality and accessibility of high education”. However, the report does not consider housing as main barrier for the accessibility of higher education, and subsequently falls short of providing a comprehensive strategy to overcome the problem. While the strategy suggests providing some grants and scholarships to successful students, these efforts can only provide marginal improvements, as they fail to tackle the root causes.
Governmental support for students takes place mostly through scholarships and study grants. In centralized university entrance exams, students from all over the country compete with each other to obtain a scholarship. According to the results scored in the placement examination, students receive a discount on the study fee or even waive tuition costs. While these scholarships reduce the financial load for students, they do not involve any funds for housing. Furthermore, the performance-based distribution of scholarships tends to exacerbate social inequalities, as the beneficiaries are likely from families with higher socio-economic status that can afford private tutoring in preparation of the exam. In addition, students from Tbilisi usually receive better high school education than those from the regions and therefore appear in a privileged position to score well in the entrance exams, compared to their competitors from the regions. Paradoxically, the performance-based logic of the scholarship scheme intensifies social and regional inequalities instead of mitigating them.
There are need-based scholarships for socially vulnerable groups, but their budget is rather small. In 2021, the Government of Georgia allocated 1.9 million GEL to support different categories of student groups. A part of the budget is reserved for students from the region, since 446 scholarships were distributed according to the place where students completed their general education. Out of the 446 scholarships, 226 go to students from the mountainous settlements of Adjara Autonomous Republic, Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo Kartli and Shida Kartli. 90 scholarships are awarded to students from the Autonomous region of Abkhazia. An additional amount of 75 scholarships are provided for students from the occupied territories of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District, 5 scholarships to students from the village of Perevi in Sachkhere municipality and further 50 students from villages adjacent to the border with the occupied territories benefit from the scholarship program. Even though the design of the need-based scholarship scheme demonstrates the governments’ awareness of the hardships students from certain regional background face, the support is largely restricted to students from mountainous settlements and students affected by the military conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, excluding the majority of students from the regions. Furthermore, the amount of 446 scholarships is insufficient, given the fact that TSU alone hosts 9000 students from the regions.
Additionally, there are funds distributed by the Municipality of Tbilisi and the Ministry of Education, based on their ranking in the unified database of socially vulnerable families. The rating considers mainly family size, family income, and degree of disability of a person, but the place of origin and high school graduation is not taken into account. While these funds provide important support for marginalized families, they do not contribute directly to overcome the educational inequalities that are based on regional disparities.
Educational policies supporting students consist mostly of small financial aid distributed through scholarships and grants. The unequal budgeting of scholarship schemes reflects the governments’ preference to invest in successful students, rather than supporting socially vulnerable students. Furthermore, the focus on scholarships demonstrates the narrow understanding of the issue of educational inequity and the challenges that students face. The problem of affordable student housing is absent from the governments’ strategy to promote the accessibility of higher education, and government funding supports students to pay their tuition fees, but does not consider their financial capabilities to pay their rent. The neglect of the housing issue risks undermining the governmental efforts to combat educational inequities.
Thus, the issue of affordable student housing is neither addressed adequately by state housing policies, nor do educational policies consider the housing needs of the students. The government seems to have no comprehensive understanding of the interlinkage between the lack of affordable housing and educational inequity and no elaborate strategy to combat it. Therefore, there is an urgent need to put student housing on the agenda and formulate a student housing policy.
Policy recommendations: towards a student housing policy that promotes educational equity
In order not to leave the regions behind the development of the capital and prevent further socio-economic polarization, it is essential to ensure the accessibility of high-quality higher education for Georgian youth from the regions. In the long term, the government has to invest in the improvement of higher educational quality in the regions. The recent opening of Kutaisi International University could inspire future projects in other parts of the country. But in the short term, there is an urgent need for a policy that facilitates higher education accessibility and supports young people from the region to relocate to Tbilisi. The knowledge and human capital concentrated in Tbilisi has to be made available for the regions’ youth as an investment in the socio-economic development of the regions, which potential returnees can initiate.
Housing is unarguably the most important field of action, since rent prices and scarcity of student dormitories are the biggest obstacle for students from the regions seeking to obtain higher education in Tbilisi. A student housing policy, which sufficiently considers the rights and needs of young people from the regions, is key for a successful strategy for educational equity. There are different policy options that can significantly contribute to higher education accessibility:
- The state budget for need-based scholarships has to be increased substantially. The scholarship scheme should explicitly define students from the regions as socially disadvantaged group, which depending on their families’ financial background, should be eligible for state support. Regional differences of socio-economic deprivation have to be taken into account when defining the final amount of the scholarship. Furthermore, the scholarships should not only offer a reduction of the tuition fee, but include further financial support for students whose application for a place in a state dormitory was declined and who rely on the private housing market to meet their needs for accommodation.
- In order to prevent further inaction and communication challenges, the competences for the legislation, design and implementation of a social housing strategy should be centralized within one governmental agency, instead of shared responsibilities between different departments within the Ministries of Health, Economy and Infrastructure. Given the fact that social housing is a major task for urban development and that all urban planning decisions have to strategically consider the need to provide affordable housing, the Urban Planning Department should be empowered as the central state actor that promotes affordable housing, designs a social housing strategy, allocates the land for housing, and supervises the implementation. In order to include urban planning expertize to the process of budgeting and strategizing, the envisaged relocation of the department to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Planning is a step in the right direction.
- Given the financial challenges that many students from the regions face when obtaining higher education in Tbilisi, less privileged students, who cannot rely on family support should be acknowledged and legally defined as a vulnerable group, eligible for state housing support. A social housing strategy thus should not only consider IDPs, eco-migrants and people living on the streets, but pay special attention to the housing needs of students. This does not mean that the state should privilege students over other socially marginalized groups and fully cover their housing costs. Instead, there is a need for increased awareness on how to ensure affordability of rents in newly built student dormitories. Additionally, small grants for students relying on the private market can help them to reduce their amount of working hours in low-wage employment and allow them to dedicate more time to their studies.
- There is an urgent need for the state to get strategically and financially involved in the planning and building of student dormitories. Given the severe underfunding of higher education institutions, the state has to provide the budget to build dormitories. Realizing student housing through public-private-partnerships might seem tempting in the beginning, but risks supplying student housing that does not consider the financial capabilities of students.
 EU-Report on Socio-Economic and Territorial Disparities. pp 32-33
 Chankseliani, Maia. 2013. Spatial Inequities in Higher Education Admissions in Georgia: Likelihood of Choosing and Gaining Access to Prestigious Institutions, Caucasus Social Science Review, 2013, Vol. 1, Issue 1, p. 318
 Regional Development Programme of Georgia 2018-2021, pp. 105-106
 While educational equality suggests treating all students in the same way and providing all students with identical resources, equity in education acknowledges the individual needs that different students have to accomplish the same outcome, e.g. different degrees of higher education accessibility, based on regional origin and physical distance to educational institutions. Given the barriers that students from the regions face in accessing higher education in Tbilisi, educational equity calls for specific treatment, tailored to the needs of students from the regions.
 Data obtained in personal e-mail communication with Lasha Saghinadze, Head of Administration at TSU
 Platforma.ge. 2022. Student Social Needs Survey, p. 22. Unpublished study, page might differ in published version
 Platforma.ge. 2022. Student Social Needs Survey, p. 19-21. Unpublished study, page might differ in published version
 Platforma.ge. 2022. Student Social Needs Survey, p. 22. Unpublished study, page might differ in published version
 Platforma.ge. 2022. Student Social Needs Survey, p. 25. Unpublished study, page might differ in published version
 Salukvadze, Joseph; Mathema Ashna and Budovitch, Max. 2015. Georgia Urban Strategy. Priority Area Housing, pp. 79 ff.
 Tsintsabadze, Anano and Tatuli Chubabria. 2016. Homelessness. Analysis of State Policies. Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, pp. 31 f.
 In 2019, the distribution of funding sources for education in Georgia was as follows: State funding is about 23% and household spending - 77%. (Student Social Needs Survey, p. 13)
 Regional Development Programme of Georgia, 2018-2021, p. 105
 Socio-economic and Territorial Disparities in Georgia, 2017, p. 31
 Socio-economic and Territorial Disparities in Georgia, 2017, p. 32
 Regional Development Programme of Georgia. 2018-2021, p. 105
 Regional Development Programme of Georgia. 2018-2021, pp. 105-106
 Regional Development Programme of Georgia. 2018-2021, p. 103