Students slam “disgraceful” University rent increases

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Students in Bath are facing an inflation-busting increase to their rent, following a decision by the University of Bath’s Finance Committee.

The average increase for students living in University-owned accommodation will be 5.5 per cent for the 2017/18 academic year.

The charges will apply to all 4,200 students who move in to University accommodation next year – typically first year students and postgraduates – with increases ranging from 3.3 to 10.8 per cent.

For the 2017/18 academic year, the cheapest accommodation available will be a shared room at £70 per week, with standard accommodation ranging from £106.50-£142.80 per week and up to £160-175 per week for rooms with en-suite facilities.

The decision will reduce the amount of student accommodation available for less than 50% of the maximum maintenance loan to just 8 per cent of the bed stock.

The National Union of Students recommends that at least 25% of University-owned accommodation is available at this price.

When proposing the 2017/18 student rents, the ability to both fund the proposed programme of capital works and repay capital loans from previous new build projects were taken into consideration.

The budget for Accommodation & Hospitality at the University of Bath is ring-fenced, which means that is financially separate to the rest of the University. Only the funds that come in to the budget (i.e. student rents) are available to cover expenditure, it is not topped up from elsewhere, nor is money taken out for other uses.

Students are becoming increasingly unhappy with the University’s approach to rent prices, with two policies submitted to the Students’ Union calling for action.

The Students’ Union President, Lucy Woodcock, told bathimpact:

“The University generates millions in surpluses, and pays its Vice-Chancellor an eye-watering amount each year. We recognise the need to maintain and invest in the building stock on campus, but ring-fencing the budget the way they do treats students like a cash cow.

“I genuinely don’t know where the University expects students to find this additional money from” she added, “and I worry about the impact these increases will have, especially on those who are really stretched to come to university in the first place.”

“The University should be doing everything it can to support its students and ensure higher education is accessible, decisions like this are simply disgraceful.”

A petition has been set up by the SU for students to call on the University Finance committee to reconsider its decision, which you can sign here

 

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Marianne Gros is a final year Politics with International Relations Student, and Editor-In-Chief of bathimpact.

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