student-housing crisis

Student housing crisis: First years left without places in halls with term just weeks away

Some University of West England students have been offered accommodation in Wales

First year students at several UK universities have been told to look elsewhere for accommodation as halls of residences are already full up.

With term just weeks away, incoming undergrads at the University of Glasgow, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and the University of West England (UWE) have been denied university accommodation.

Some students at UWE were offered accommodation in Newport, Wales – around an hour away from their Bristol campus.

In the past, the University of Bristol has also sent students to live in Wales, while the University of York put students up in Hull.

With more students going to university every year, the pressure on university accommodation and privately rented properties has increased.

On August 18th (A-Level results day), 426,000 students held offers at UK unis with thousands more hunting for places on Clearing.

Critics accuse universities of offering places to students with no plans of how to house them.

One parent of a UWE student told The Financial Times: “It’s outrageous for them to accept clearing applicants knowing they couldn’t provide accommodation.”

UWE confirmed that following a “high volume of applications”, 533 students were still waiting for university accommodation.

The uni has offered some students halls places in Newport, Wales, promising to pay their travel costs to the Bristol.

A spokesperson for UWE said: “Bristol has become an increasingly popular city to live in.

“This, combined with the increasing demand for university places and the rise in the cost of living, has placed additional pressure on our accommodation and the rental market.”

Jim Dickinson writes a higher education blog called WonkHE, and says: “If there is a student accommodation shortage you can tackle supply or you can have difficult conversations about demand.”

National Union of Students vice-president for higher education Chloe Field said: “As universities increasingly sell off their housing stock and wash their hands of their duty towards their own students we are of course seeing predatory private providers step in to fill the void.”

Featured image: Shutterstock / John B Hewitt (edited)

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