More than half of students claim to fall ill due to cold student accommodation, according to a recent survey by Dreamland. Of the 394 students surveyed, 202 participants (51 per cent) said that a lack of heating contributed to health problems
The survey of students across the country found that on average, 49 per cent of students avoided putting the heating on to save money. Fifty-three per cent worried about the cost of their heating bills, and two-thirds of respondents did not have financial help with their bills. Thirty-two per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement “I can’t afford other essentials and luxuries if I pay for heating.”
While heating is normally included in university accommodation charges, only 16 per cent of survey takers lived in halls. Forty-six per cent had heating costs included in their rent, meaning fifty-four per cent of participants had to pay heating bills on top of their rent. Sixty-two per cent of respondents said their accommodation often or always felt cold in winter.
Besides monetary worries and illness, the survey also revealed other ways cold accommodation impacts on student life. Fifty-four per cent of students said a cold room affected their studying, with thirty-four per cent expressing concerns over the quality of their work. Almost 10 per cent suspected a correlation between cold accommodation and poorer grades. On top of this, 32 per cent of students admitted missing lectures or classes at university due to being unwilling to leave the warmth of their bed. However, students were reticent to leave their homes despite the cold.
Lack of heating was also implied to have an effect on students mentally as well as physically. Just under a quarter of those surveyed – 24 per cent – agreed that feeling “depressed” was a side-effect of living in cold accommodation, and the lack of warmth negatively affected their mood. One-fifth of those surveyed also noted an increase in the amount of time they spent alone in their rooms.
The majority of students surveyed kept warm at night in winter by using extra blankets (38 per cent) or warm clothing (25 per cent), while a few people took a more novel approach. Fourteen participants prefer to “find someone to share my bed with”.
As the figures give a sample from across the country as a whole, there is no data for York students specifically.