Sky high student rent is wrong – especially when the houses are so rank

It’s making university almost impossible for some students

We all get overly excited the day our student loans come through. But let’s face it, they cover hardly anything.

At Durham University, I would be paying over £7,000 for my catered accommodation fees alone in college. However, my maintenance loan will be just £3,553 due to your finances being reduced when a finalist.

If your family isn’t quite eligible for a higher loan or grant, this means you have to dig deep in your parents’ pockets in order to just have a place to live. A lot of these parents may already have put one or two other children through university. They may even have multiple children studying at the same time.

On top of this, you have to pay for books, sports subs and just generally being a student.

And even those students on the higher loans or grants often find themselves needing to rely on their parents’ support just to make ends meet due to the strain of the cost of living while at uni. Surely this defeats the point of the really important extra funding we have in place for those who really need it?

But it’s not just the university halls which are bloody ridiculously overpriced. It’s also the student houses which are eye-wateringly costly. At my uni you can easily be paying £110 a week for a room in your 2nd year house, with bills and food not included. And this is on the cheap side. You then have massive deposits to pay, which again normally have to come from family support.

Some student houses come unfurnished, and when you are lucky enough to have a mattress provided it normally has some pretty rank and concerning stains on it, with the odd spring sticking out. The houses are often damp, mouldy, unhygienic and rickety. People get ill in these houses, they’re not clean yet we pay a bomb for them.

It’s insanely exclusive, and what’s worse is that the rental figures seem to be going up and up every year. People who want to live in the same flat for two years in a row see their rent being increased, often by £5-£10 each a week.

It’s pricing people out. Universities are missing out on top students as their accommodation situation has forced people to look at other places with lower costs which allow to pay to live like a human being.

And it’s not just us students who are feeling the pressure. Shadow cabinet MP Jon Ashworth, who graduated from Durham in 2000, recently said “I’m worried Durham is pricing out working class kids” due to the controversial and shocking increases in accommodation prices at his old uni.

If it’s this expensive today, what will it be like in five years time? Unless something is done to stall both uni halls and student houses prices, seriously talented young people might not be able to go to university.

University should be a place where everyone has an equal chance to achieve whatever they want. Instead it is becoming a world of elitism and an experience for the rich.