Earlier this year the National Union of Students (NUS) reported a 22% rise in accommodation costs since the academic year of 2006-2007.
The survey expressed that in most cases, the increase is owing to a restricted choice in types of let. At the University of York, however, a new system of rent banding has been established based on size of room; availability of en-suite; and kitchen facilities which will be implemented from the beginning of next year.
Rent banding will mean that fees will be based on the qualitative conditions of accommodation, ranging from £81.76 to £163.87 per week.
Despite the introduction of this new scheme, since 2006 accommodation charges at York have risen up to 38%. For example, at Alcuin College some rooms with 2006 fees of £81.41 have now augmented to £112.42 per week.
The University has commented on increase highlighting a comparison with other Higher Education institutions, and the University of York’s investment of over £41 million since 2006 in renovating accommodation and the creation of 870 new rooms. They also stated: “We are currently inviting bids to build and maintain a new 600 bed college, the second new college to be built as part of our ongoing expansion of the University’s main campus.
“This considerable investment reflects the University’s commitment to providing the best possible accommodation within a college system that is a distinctive element of our offer and highly valued by our students.”
The NUS reported that “this rise comes despite the fact that student support has increased only to account for inflation, yet the rental rise is 13% above inflation over this period.” At York, taking into account the national level of inflation as published by the NUS, the rise remains at 29%.
David Garner, University Press Officer, explained the choice to introduce rent banding at York: “Additional rent bands have been introduced to more accurately reflect the variety of different types and ages of rooms at the University of York.”
Endorsing the rent banding scheme on behalf of the Student’s Union, Ben Humphrys, YUSU Welfare Officer, commented: “It’s generally a positive thing, the choice between how much you pay allows students to spend more on things like student activities. I hope people will welcome this next year.”
The Welfare Officer will “watch how it affects demographics quite closely”, besides taking part in a cross–institutional comparison to monitor accommodation fees at York in relation to other universities.
“It is remarkable that, despite the fact that students are already incurring huge costs in order to obtain a degree, some Vice-Chancellors and private providers think it is acceptable to both argue for higher tuition fees and slam students with excessive rent prices. Students simply cannot afford to be hit with this double whammy,” declared Wes Streeting, NUS President, within the article’s report.
Humphrys added: “Uni life is increasingly expensive, which is something we all face.”
The introduction of catered accommodation options for most rooms within Langwith and Derwent colleges has also been included, an unprecedented development in the University’s history.