Saturday 22 October 2016

Colleges hike student rents by up to €760

Universities cashing in as student scramble begins

Patrick Kelleher

Published 29/08/2016 | 02:30

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Universities across Ireland are hiking up the prices of on-campus accommodation for the new academic year.

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The price increases come as students across the country are hit by the housing crisis, which has seen an enormous under-supply of available and affordable housing.

University College Dublin (UCD) is the most expensive third-level institute in the country for campus accommodation. Their cheapest option is €5,896 for the year, with their most expensive option being €10,480.

Last year, UCD's cheapest accommodation was priced at €5,746, while their most expensive was €10,223 (including a utility charge of €396). UCD did not respond to a request for comment on having the most expensive student accommodation in the country when contacted by the Irish Independent.

The south Dublin university offers the most available beds at 3,164 - however, UCD also has the largest student population in the country at over 30,000.

The number of beds in UCD has increased this year with the development of the Ashfield housing complex. However, the total number of beds only provides for approximately 12.6pc of students.

In comparison, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has 1,642 beds and over 17,000 students, meaning they provide campus accommodation for almost 10pc of their student body.

Their cheapest option is €4,940 per year, with their most expensive costing €6,587 (both fees include utilities).

The majority of Trinity's beds are not located directly on campus and are dispersed across different locations. A spokeswoman for TCD said the price increase applied this year goes "to defray ongoing maintenance and refurbishment costs of student accommodation".

She added the college is "very conscious" of the challenges faced by students seeking accommodation.

Read more: 'Digs' will suit many freshers - Check out student unions and college accommodation services

Dublin City University (DCU) offers the most affordable prices in Dublin for cash-strapped families sending their children to college.

Their prices range from €4,572 to €5,461 for the coming academic year.

However, they have also increased from last year, when the cheapest option was €4,172 and the most expensive was €4,965.

The annual utility fee comes in at €450 per academic year.

The university boasts 1,400 rooms across its three campuses and will have approximately 17,000 students this academic year, meaning it provides bed space for roughly 8pc of students.

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) does not own or run purpose-built student accommodation. However, a complex is currently in the works for the Grangegorman campus. It will be opened to students in 2018.

Outside Dublin, the prices remain high. NUI Galway's (NUIG) Corrib Village accommodation is the best value, with the cheapest option costing only €3,105 per year. The university charges an additional €225 utility fee.

University of Limerick (UL) also offers good value accommodation, with the cheapest non-en-suite single-room option costing students €3,900 per year. However, students paying these prices will be living in an apartment with seven others.

Each college also allocates a number of rooms specifically to first-year students. UCD and UL are the only universities to allocate over 1,000 beds to those starting college. UCD allocates 1,036, which represents approximately a third of the available space. UL allocates 1,000.

TCD reserves 650 for first years, which is over a third of space, and DCU also reserves 650, which is almost half of its space.

The campus price hikes come as private sector rents have soared due to a lack of available housing and increased demand.

A recent report from found Dublin rents are now 5.2pc higher than they were at their previous peak in 2008.

Annie Hoey, President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), said they were concerned about the increase in campus prices.

"On-campus accommodation's primary purpose should be to serve the student," she told the Irish Independent.

"Students can feel as though they are being exploited and would like to know why they are going up...In an ideal world, student accommodation prices, particularly for on-campus accommodation, should not be influenced by the private sector."

Irish Independent

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