Students have paid nearly £1 billion for unused accommodation this year
Pretends to be shocked
Students have paid just under £1 billion for unused accommodation this year with only six per cent of students who have a private landlord receiving a refund.
Save the Student estimates £933,270,890 has been spent so far by students for unused accommodation this academic year.
The majority of students moved to their university accommodation in September, at the encouragement of their universities. However now a third of students have moved back home to live with a parent or guardian due to government advice.
Save the Student ran a survey of over 1,300 students across the UK. They found in two in five students had asked for a rent refund and a third of students were offered refunds.
However only nine per cent were offered a full refund, with 23 per cent being offered a partial refund.
A money expert from Save the Student, Jake Butler, has urged the government to work with universities and landlords to support students.
He said: “£1 billion is a huge price for students to pay and the total will keep going up, making it clear once again that students are among the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Time and time again the government has promised to look at the poor situation students are in but we’re yet to see any effective action. I would urge the government to work with landlords and universities to offer students financial support to cover any rent payments for accommodation that cannot be accessed.”
Last week The Tab spoke to first year Lincoln student Alex Shirreff who told us he was starting to get “pissed off” as he has not stepped foot into his university room since November last year and has yet paid nearly £3,000 for his accommodation.
He said: “I paid £1,663 for the first term and I am expected to pay £1,330 for the second term even though I haven’t spent a single day in Lincoln.
“So I have paid about three grand for a room I got to spend four weeks in.”
For some students, paying rent for accommodation is not only an annoyance but a detriment to their health.
In Save the Student’s survey they found half of students struggle to keep up with rent and 60 per cent of students said their health had suffered as a result.
The NUS Vice President for Higher Education, Hillary Gyebi-Ababio said the aid the government is offering is simply not enough and students have been consistently ignored during the pandemic.
She said: “Students have been consistently exploited and ignored during this pandemic. We are seen as cash cows, with many stuck paying extortionate rents for properties they either cannot use or cannot afford.
“This survey makes clear that the £50million in hardship funding is a drop in the ocean compared to the eye-watering costs that students are facing. If Westminster did the right thing and matched the hardship funding being made available in Wales for students, the amount needed would be more than £700 million.”
Are you paying an excessive amount of money for accommodation you’re not using? Get in touch, in confidence by emailing [email protected]
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