Student accommodation prices have overtaken the cost of a maintenance loan

Rent prices have risen over 60 per cent in the past decade

The rent university students pay for halls has risen by 60 per cent over the past decade to reach an average of £7,347, which is more than the average student maintenance loan, a survey shows.

The average student maintenance loan – standing at £6,900 – has therefore become insufficient to support students. Despite being intended to cover living expenses, this is forcing many to work part-time alongside their studies, live at home or get help from family to support themselves.

A survey of nearly 500,000 beds in student halls shows that rents have been steadily increasing, with prices 4.4 per cent higher than last year, and 16 per cent higher than before the pandemic.

London is even more unaffordable for students, with average rents totalling £10,857, 61 per cent more than the average for the rest of the UK.

This latest report from the National Union of Students (NUS) and housing charity Unipol shows that the cost of rent for student accommodation is rising far more quickly than inflation. Not only this, but it also puts pressure on students to find genuinely affordable rooms which inevitably reduces the choice students have.

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, the vice-president for higher education at the NUS said: “The affordability of student accommodation affects students’ educational experience, and also has a major impact on access and widening participation. 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.”

The NUS said more than two thirds of students were concerned about managing financially this year, while nearly a quarter had been unable to pay their rent at some point in the past year.

The report also showed that universities are relying more on private providers for student accommodation, which are 24 per cent more expensive than those run by unis.  The number of beds offered by these providers has more than doubled from 142,439 beds in 2012-13 to 361,717 in 2021-22, and the report predicted this would continue.

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