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16 Aug 2022

Research by NUI Galway reveals high cost of student accommodation

Research by NUI Galway reveals high cost of student accommodation

The cost of purpose-built student accommodation is a barrier to full participation in third level from prospective students.

New research by NUI Galway has found that cost of purpose-built student accommodation is a barrier to full participation in third level from prospective students. 

The research compares rents and availability of university provided student accommodation in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and some European Universities. 

The 68 page report shows that purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) offered by Irish universities is relatively costly, compared with universities in Northern Ireland and some European universities. 

The research noted that the cost and extent of PBSA is of major concern to Student Unions and prospective students, and that it acts as a barrier to full participation from potential students, including those with disabilities, as well as some international students. The development of high cost, private, tax relief driven, investor-led PBSA is driving higher rents and lowering space and accommodation standards.

This research was conducted Áine Dillon, BCL Law Student, and Professor Padraic Kenna at the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy, NUI Galway over the past year. It found that single occupancy rooms make up less than half the accommodation provided by Irish universities, with shared occupancy rooms most common in NUI Galway and University College Cork.

Professor Kenna said: “It is a surprising finding that rents for university provided purpose-built student accommodation are so high in Ireland. These could rise even further due to current development costs. Without a capital subsidy to the university providers, it will be increasingly difficult to provide affordable new student accommodation. With that in mind, our report recommends the establishment of Student Housing Associations (Approved Housing Bodies) to provide affordable student accommodation.”

The report advocates for low-cost, socially inclusive, disability friendly, digitally advanced, student housing. Access to affordable and good quality PBSA is a significant public interest issue, and one which will be highlighted as the new Technological Universities in Ireland begin to provide student accommodation.

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