Upon discovering that rents for campus accommodation were likely to rise in line with inflated gas prices my first response was one of annoyance. Students are already paying ridiculous amounts of money for campus accommodation which is often poorly equipped and poorly maintained. To ask for more money for accommodation next year seemed downright wrong, and I wanted to argue as such. But then I remembered, when it comes to money, things are never really fair.
The facts are quite simple. Gas prices are rising. Oil prices are rising. As a result, the cost of heating accommodation blocks will increase. The university will have to pay for this increase somehow. As students we are perfectly aware of the fact that money does not, and never will, grow on trees. The money will have to come from somewhere. And in truth, it’s probably best like this. If heating prices are not properly taken into account when drawing up accommodation costs, then the money needed will have to come from some other part of the university. Do you really want your tuition fees to cover some fresher who left his heating on and his window open while he was out at Ziggy’s? Or the money earmarked for improvements in your department to be used to keep someone sitting in their bedroom in a vest in December? Yes, it’s a somewhat selfish view to take, but it also makes sense. Of course, the university’s decision to charge one flat rate for all accommodation is one that could be questioned at this point, as the person who wears an extra set of socks to bed to keep warm instead of turning their radiator on full blast is going to end up paying exactly the same as someone who keeps their heating on all through June.
While the financial world is imploding, it’s generally been accepted by all that this is going to be a period of increased living costs. And it’s going to affect everyone. Considerations like energy costs will have to be taken into account by all, and I know that next year, in my little house off campus, I’ll be paying more to heat my house. Yes, I’m an unemployed student living on a small weekly budget, but I can’t write a letter to British Gas asking if they wouldn’t mind not charging me so much for the gas that I’m using. That’s not really how life works. Iit seems that the only option we have available for us is to accept that living costs are going up for everyone, including the student.