Monday 16 September 2019

Students face paying thousands more to secure accommodation at our universities

Rise in cost for room at Plassey

Concerns: Rory Hearne said students are having to work longer hours to pay their rent.
Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Concerns: Rory Hearne said students are having to work longer hours to pay their rent. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Gabija Gataveckaite

Accommodation costs at universities have surged by thousands of euro in the space of just five years.

College students are paying almost 50pc extra for the upcoming academic year than their counterparts did when looking for housing in 2014.

Since the tail end of the recession, the squeeze in housing availability has coincided with many colleges increasing prices, an analysis by the Irish Independent shows.

University College Dublin (UCD) has seen the highest increases over the past five years, with prices having surged by several thousand euro.

Students shelled out €5,050 to stay in Belgrove student accommodation during the 2014/2015 academic year.

However, come September, prices have shot up by 49pc, with rent now costing €7,514.

Roebuck Hall accommodation in the university has also increased in cost by 47pc over five years.

In 2014, students paid €6,260 for an en-suite bedroom in an apartment with five other residents. For the coming academic year, they will now have to pay €9,215 for the same room.

The trend continues in DCU. Five years ago students paid €4,284 for an en-suite bedroom in a five-room apartment in one of the Hampstead blocks on the Glasnevin campus.

For the 2019/2020 academic year, they will have to dig deeper and produce €6,015, an extra 40pc.

Trinity Halls, primarily first-year student accommodation in TCD, have increased their rents by a third over the past five years. While students paid between €4,186 and €5,460 for a room, in September they will have to fork out between €5,531 and €7,247.

The trend continues in the south of the country. For an eight-bedroom house in Plassey accommodation, provided by the University of Limerick, students will now pay 42pc more than they did five years ago, as €3,350 has sky-rocketed to €4,768.40.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Maynooth University lecturer Rory Hearne said universities were relying on student accommodation for additional funds.

"Colleges don't have enough funding and college accommodation is an income source.

"The increases are very worrying because students have to work longer hours to pay their rent, then the quality of their education decreases. Student accommodation should be affordable," he said.

Earlier this week the Irish Independent revealed an accommodation crisis as each of the country's universities hikes rents for the upcoming academic year.

Sky-high rents around the country mean students are being priced out of the market for private accommodation.

University College Cork (UCC) saw the highest percentage increase, but defended its decision to hike costs of its student accommodation by up to 11.5pc for the coming academic year.

"UCC is extremely conscious of the financial challenges faced by students," its statement said.

"Any increase in campus accommodation rates are considered with student representatives and UCC is committed to providing safe accommodation of a high standard for its students."

Irish Independent

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