Stranded freshers panic after University fails to allocate enough halls accommodation

It is thought hundreds of freshers are without uni accommodation after they got into Birmingham through clearing

accommodation halls selly oak university of birmingham

Freshers have been let down by the university and forced to find accommodation outside of first-year halls- all because Brum wasn’t the TOP choice on their UCAS form. 

It is thought that hundreds of first years who got into Birmingham through clearing have been left without halls accommodation, although official figures cannot be confirmed yet.

The conundrum, which has left many  freshers panicking, represents the second Fresher’s accommodation mishap in as many years.

And now students are desperately searching for houses in Selly Oak, sharing with just a fraction of the people they hoped to live with in halls.

Students have missed out on living in 'The Vale' - many people's first choices.

Students have missed out on living in The Vale – many people’s first choice

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First year law and french student, Rowan Connell, was left with no choice but to look at houses in Selly Oak when she applied late for the accommodation scheme, missing the deadline.

She told The Tab: “Today I received an email explaining there were no rooms available. My heart sank and I began to panic.

“I posted on the uni freshers’ page asking if there was anyone else in the same position.

“Tons of people came forward so I was relieved I wasn’t the only one.

“I added some of the people who came forward and then we made a group chat discussing what we would do next.

“We’re currently looking to rent a private house in Selly Oak.”

Typical houses in Selly Oak which are available for freshers to rent.

Freshers are forced to look for houses in Selly Oak

Another fresher, political science student Cherinne Cowan says she has suffered the same disconcerting experience.

She said: “For me, the prospect of starting university is a very daunting one to say the least, but my biggest concern stems from having nowhere to live as of yet.

“Such circumstances have left me feeling uncertain, disorganised and afraid when this should be a very exciting time.”

Birmingham only guarantees accommodation to those who put the university as their firm, first choice.

If you apply through clearing, miss the application deadline or chose Birmingham as your insurance, a place in university accommodation is not certain.

Despite the obvious stress involved however, many students forced to live in Selly Oak last year have testified to the benefits of not living in Halls.

Billy and his new housemates during their freshers week.

Last year, Billy Myles was among the number of students left homeless.

He said: “Although I was worried at first, I was pretty lucky to have my housemates because they all became my best friends here.

“I am living with half of them next year and have stayed really close with the others.

“It turned out to be quite a bit cheaper than the accommodation route too, which leveraged the stress it brought, and we had a big house between us all so it worked out perfect.”

Second year Rose Wakefield was devastated not to have been put in halls last year after she had Birmingham as her insurance choice, so missed out on halls.

But after finding a house in Selly Oak for her first year, she has no regrets about missing out.

“I was devastated not to be in halls. To me, halls were the done thing in first year.

“Fortunately, our house became a family, and I had the best first year I could have ever hoped for.

“If I could do it over, I wouldn’t care at all about not being in halls.

“I wouldn’t wish it any other way.”

Rose and Billy outside their house in Selly, wouldn't have it any other way.

A spokesperson for the university said:

“The University of Birmingham guarantees all first-year undergraduate students a room in University accommodation or University-approved private accommodation, provided they meet the terms of their offer and submit their application on time. Despite an increase in student numbers this year due to the huge rise in demand for places at Birmingham, we have fulfilled this commitment.

“For all other students (ie those who have come through Clearing, who accepted us as an insurance place or late applicants to the University) the University provides a housing service and the University’s Hospitality & Accommodation Service has worked extremely hard to ensure that all students who needed help finding suitable accommodation have successfully been housed, even if they fell outside our housing guarantee scheme.

“The University’s Hospitality & Accommodation Service has worked with The Guild to run a series of events for Freshers who are living off campus. Students living in private sector accommodation are also affiliated to Jarratt Hall so that they can participate in social activities and meet many other first year students.”

The Guild also told The Tab: “The Guild of Students continues to work closely with the University to ensure these students are housed in high quality private rented accommodation.

“We hosted a house-hunting day earlier this month, which had been set up for these prospective students to view houses and form groups, with guidance as to what they should be looking for in the private rented sector.

“Furthermore, we are working to ensure these students will not be excluded from the first year experience through a welcome event during Welcome Week.

“Welcome packs will be organised and there will be the opportunity of inclusion in a series of events run by the RAs.”