Freshers forced to pay £20 a night for hotels after halls shortage
They got to order room service
More than 200 first years have been moved into hotels rooms because of a shortage of space in halls.
Freshers at Reading Uni have been forced to spend their first two weeks in subsidised hotel rooms until they can find somewhere permanent to stay.
The overcrowded uni accepted 400 more students than last year, but doesn’t have a place to put them up.
Although the university are footing most of the bill, freshers still have to pay £19.50 a night – not including food.
One of the students living in a hotel, Film and Theatre first year Jay Nelson told The Tab: “I just looked forward to going out every night, but the hotel experience was essentially the opposite of fun.
“I even lost 14 pounds after not being able to keep up a balanced diet from the hotel.”
The students in temporary accommodation are spending up to two weeks in either the Millennium Madjeski Hotel, the Hillingdon Prince, or Cedars Hotel close to campus.
Accounting and Finance fresher Ben Neville said: “I was placed in the Millenium Madjeski and was told that I had to accept any offer of halls accommodation I received.
“We were provided a three week bus pass, but transport was still very inconvenient with it taking up to 40 minutes each way.
“It was very difficult to eat on a budget because we had no cooking facilities and this eventually led us to ordering fish and chips through room service at the exorbitant price of £15.”
Ecology and Wildlife student Miriam Harrison also started the year in a hotel before finding a place in halls.
She said: “It was badly organised as we had no freshers band or information.
“We just had to try and sneak into all the clubs.
“We never got the chance to do things they do in halls like attempt themed nights.”
Another fresher who was left homeless during freshers is pharmacy student Alisha Khatri.
After doing well in her exams, she chose to go to Reading though adjustment but was unable to get a place in halls because the uni wasn’t her firm choice by early August.
She said: “The university told us there were more students than places in halls, so I had to be placed on the waiting list until some people drop out in the first few weeks.
“I was worried I wouldn’t get a place.
“Being in a hotel made me feel quite isolated away from everyone else who were socialising in their halls and making friends.”
After a week in limbo, Alisha was finally offered a place in halls too.
Speaking on the accommodation crisis, RUSU Welfare officer Nina Hager said: “At the beginning of freshers there were about 500 students still searching for a place to live.”
“Approximately 200 hundred of them asked to be placed in the temporary accommodation the university are offering and the others have been doing their own thing.
“Many of them have been using RUSU’s Find a Housemate page on Facebook to look for house shares.”
A spokesperson for Reading University said: “We have been clear during the 2015 recruitment process that we do not guarantee accommodation for students who only make Reading their insurance place and that they need to consider their accommodation options early.”