Anna Blackburn investigates how students are affected by the imminent rent increase of campus accommodation.
Over the past week the issue of student accommodation prices rising 4% every year for the next 3 years has caused huge controversy on UCD campus. UCD is building enough accommodation for another 300 students, however many students, and the Students’ Union, have expressed concern that the rent increases will disproportionately affect disadvantaged students.
The students’ union has written a letter to the members of the University Management Team and the President of the University, Andrew J. Deeks and posted copies around campus in order to increase awareness on the issue. UCDSU is working to fight this increase and has asked the University to “provide students of UCD with an opportunity to be heard before making decisions” and are awaiting their response.
Accommodation fees go towards maintenance, duty managers etc. However many students are upset due to the overlooking of some of these things. Residents in Roebuck Castle counted false fire alarm activations this academic year claiming that it is unsafe and breaches the University License to Reside which states; “UCD will use its reasonable endeavours to maintain the structure of the Residence” and “During the Period of Residence UCD shall insure the Residence where the Room is located against fire and other risks which UCD considers necessary.”
29% of the university are international students, many of whom live on campus. International students are paying between 16,000 and 55,000 EUR per year just in tuition fees on top of the 6,000-12,000 EUR in accommodation fees and 300 for an Irish Residence Permit each year. This could leave almost one third of these students in debt.
The University’s claims that having more rooms will benefit the students. However the increase in rent could make it more difficult for students to live on campus. In recent years, many students have aimed at moving off campus for accommodation because they can no longer afford to live in student accommodation. However, the housing crisis in Dublin makes it very difficult.