Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Mairéad Farrell TD, has today responded to an Irish Times report which demonstrated that the price of student accommodation in Irish universities has increased across the board for the coming academic year.
Teachta Farrell said that this highlights the “unsustainability of the current student accommodation delivery model” and is failing students across the sector.
The Galway West Td said:
“With universities increasing their rents, many going with the maximum 2% increase permitted by the rent pressure zone, this is more bad news for students.
“For instance, in DCU first year students staying in the Larkfield apartments will have to pay €5,863 – up from €5,584 last year.
“In UCD, the cheapest private room to rent is now €7,767, reaching its highest level ever. In Trinity College those staying in the Printing House Square complex will have to pay a total of €10,379.
“The only one not increasing it’s fees is the University Galway.
“The additional costs required by students to cover their housing expenses will place more pressure on students whose educational experience has already been diminished from the related stress and anxiety.
“The demand for student accommodation continues to outstrip supply, and there’s little evidence that supply is ramping up. This places upward pressure on prices whilst lowering the student experience for many.
“We cannot just lay the blame for this on the universities themselves. They are required to operate within the confines of a delivery model which is clearly broken.
“As semi-autonomous institutions that have to operate within the current model, and still reeling from a core funding gap of over €250 million, they are constrained by financial viability issues.
“They are sensitive to cost inflation, interest rates, tender prices, their ability to rent out the accommodation during out of term periods, etc.
“The failure around the delivery of student accommodation mirrors the wider failure of housing sector. It’s time to begin considering a new model of delivery.”