Bristol Uni agrees to full rent rebate for students not returning to halls until Easter

The university estimates that the rent cuts in place total a ’25 per cent rebate for the entire year’

Bristol University has agreed to give students who are not returning to university allocated accommodation a full rent rebate from the 1st February until the start of spring holidays on 26th March.

This follows the government instruction for most students not to return to campus, and to stay at home during this third national lockdown.

Robert Kerse, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Bristol, said: “We have today agreed that students who do not return to University-allocated accommodation as a result of the latest Government restrictions will receive a full rent rebate from 1 February until the start of the student spring vacation on 26 March, or an earlier date if students are permitted to travel to their University accommodation.”

The rebate is in addition to a 30 per cent rent rebate introduced in December to compensate for the original government-mandated staggered return to campus, as well as a 10-day full rent rebate in response to the national directive for teaching to be moved online between the 3rd and 9th December.

The university also said: “Students who are in halls will continue to receive the 30 per cent rent reduction up to 5 February. 

“Overall, this means that undergraduate students living in residences will receive an approximate 25 per cent rebate for the entire year, which we believe to be one of the most significant rebates across the university sector.

“We appreciate the cost of accommodation is a major concern to our students at this unprecedented time and hope that today’s decision will provide them with assurance that we are taking their concerns around this very important issue seriously. Our hardship funds are uncapped and available to all students, regardless of landlord, during this challenging period.”

The university will “review whether it is fair” to provide further rent cuts in late February.

The Bristol Tab asked the Bristol SU whether they were satisfied with this decision, to which Student Living Officer Ruth Day said that they are “really pleased” about the rebate for students in halls.

“This is one of the top priorities I took to the university when lockdown was announced and what students have been asking for. It’s great that the university has listened and acted quickly.

“We’ll be continuing to work with the University to ensure that students remaining in halls through lockdown get the financial support they need. We’ll also continue to work with JCRs and students striking with Bristol, Cut the Rent on the additional measures that they’d like to see put in place.”

However, The Bristol Tab spoke to Rihanna, a first year politics student currently living in Churchill Hall, who said that she feels there is “a lack of consideration” for students who have already moved back to Bristol: “There has been few efforts to support us financially or in other means. Especially since those of us who have come back often have no choice due to lack of internet or bedroom space at home.

“In terms of services, our libraries our shut, catering service is now only four days a week and so students aren’t getting the regular hot meals they are paying for.

“People are just extremely isolated too and have been told not only that they can’t go home, that they are now losing thousands of pounds.

“The people who could most benefit from financial support, have been left in the dark.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Bristol Uni offers students in halls 30 per cent rent rebate for seven weeks

Bristol Uni rejects student demands for safety net policy

This isn’t the Bristol Uni experience I was promised, and I have had enough