UK Students are paying 60% more for halls than ten years ago
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UK Students are paying 60% more for halls than ten years ago

Ella Kipling December 31, 2021

There is something so exciting about moving into your university halls in September. Suddenly you are armed with shower shoes, extension cables, and the promise of newfound freedom in your very own pad. Yes, you might be sharing it with six strangers. Yes the kitchen floor might be disconcertingly sticky. But it’s a universal experience – nay a rite of passage – undertaken by first year students across the country. 

Another thing that remains the same no matter what university you go to is the price of halls. It may vary between institutions, but overall you will fork out an extortionate amount each month to live in what is, essentially, a glorified shoe box. 

Huge increase

A report from the National Union of Students and housing charity Unipol shows that the amount of rent students pay for halls of residence has risen by 60% over the past ten years. The average is now £7,347. These figures are even more shocking when you are reminded that the lowest maintenance loan granted is £4,422 and the average maintenance loan, according to The Guardian, is £6,900.

These loans are meant to cover rent, as well as general living expenses. But the government website explains that students ‘may have to find other ways to fund the rest of your living costs.’ 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The survey is made up of data from 500,000 beds in student halls. It shows that rent has been increasing over the years, with prices up 4.4% from last year and 16% higher than before the pandemic.

Another statistic from the report suggests that 70% of the beds surveyed are operated by private halls providers. The number of beds offered by private providers has gone from 142,439 in 2012-13 to 361,717 in 2021-22. These halls are 24% more expensive than those run by universities. That is an issue as, often, students will not get a choice over the accommodation they are put in by their university. 

Major impact on education experience

The vice-president for higher education at the National Union of Students Hillary Gyebi-Ababio explained that the affordability of student accommodation ‘affects students’ education experience’. It also has a ‘major impact’ on access and widening participation.

Gyebi-Ababio said: ‘It’s disgraceful that so many young people are priced out, either deterred or unable to apply to university, or have their options severely limited by where they can afford to live.’ 

Anna Sykes, a final year student, had gone through clearing at Reading University in 2019 and was left with few accommodation options. The halls offered to her were extremely pricey and all privately owned.

She told Freshered: ‘To be honest, I was really stressed. I went through clearing and all I was offered was private accommodation, it’s really expensive.’

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Ella Kipling is an Entertainment and News Writer at GRV Media. She regularly writes a mixture of news and features for HITC and has been part of the team since 2020. After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BA (Hons) in English Literature, Ella is currently studying for an MA in Magazine Journalism at City University. She has a keen interest in current affairs and can usually be found reading the news, with her nose in a book (and updating her Goodreads), talking about women’s rights, or listening to Showtunes.