A new report has revealed the rising cost of university accommodation in the UK and how it affects students’ decisions about where to continue their education.
According to figures obtained by the Guardian, the price of the cheapest student rooms saw an average 11 per cent rise in the last three years.
This assessment was achieved after the news provider investigated the price of the cheapest student rooms at 80 UK universities over the past two academic years.
In the 2010-11 student year, the average cost of accommodation in a university hall of residence was £2,980 for the duration of their stay. In 2012-2013, this shot up to £3,301.
The largest increase in price was seen at the London School of Economics (LSE), where the cost of rooms rose by £1,263 over three years. Minimum accommodation costs were £4,282 for the last academic year.
Some of the rising costs of university rooms up and down the country is due to the introduction of compulsory meal packages. However, with the demand growing again for student accommodation, the rising costs are also due to the current undersupply.
It’s a similar story further north in the UK, with the University of Bradford seeing its cheapest rooms leap from £2,772 in 2010-11 to £3,906 in the last academic year.
However, it was London-based establishments that saw the most notable rises on the whole. Queen Mary University London saw its cheapest accommodation witness a £768 rise in three years, with the minimum cost of a room standing at £4,384.
Elsewhere, St George’s University of London had the most expensive “budget” accommodation, as discovered after the Guardian issued a Freedom of Information Act request to 80 universities.
The cheapest room at this establishment was £5,500 a year, marking an £880 increase on three years ago.
This trend of rising costs is worrying the National Union of Students, with vice-president Colum McGuire telling reporters that students might start basing their future education choices on the cost of local accommodation, rather than whether the university is right for them.
“Rent prices continue to go up, above the rate of inflation, with no correlation to the amount of support that students get. The majority of rent is not even covered by a basic maintenance loan, so students have less and less to live on,” he said.
While the news might not be welcomed by students, investors will see the opportunities present in the market, due to increasing demand for beds and the growing expectations of quality accommodation in university towns.
Competitive prices will help to drive more students to these bespoke facilities, usually found off-campus.
Before the cost of university courses rose to around £9,000 at English institutions, there was a drop in the number of students applying for higher education. However, this has started to increase again thanks to more emphasis on allowing overseas students to study in the country.
Foreign students often require accommodation for a much longer period of time, due to the fact they are less likely to travel home during university holidays. This means quality facilities are vital for these individuals.