A Freedom of Information request has revealed that 221 first-year students failed to receive any of their accommodation preferences.
A new system for allocating accommodation was introduced this year. It required students to select ten preferences based on a combination of college and room type in May, prior to receiving their A-Level results.
Halifax College had the fewest first choice room allocations on Heslington West, as only 95 students out of the ones included in the statistics were offered a room in the college as their first choice. Goodricke College had the fewest first choice room allocations on Heslington East, with just 125 students offered a room.
Just over 20 per cent of the students who were included in the data provided by the University were allocated to their fifth preference or lower. The statistics provided by the University did not include details of allocations for students who applied for accommodation late or who gained a place at the University through clearing.
Forty-five per cent were allocated their first choice of accommodation under the new system. Alcuin College had the highest proportion of first choice room allocations on Heslington West with 196 students gaining their first choice. In contrast, Langwith College had the highest proportion on Heslington East, with 201 students receiving their first preference.
Under the previous system, the choice of available accommodation was dictated by random email batches sent out to students across one day, giving them access to the live accommodation system.
A first-year student shared his with Nouse: “I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I didn’t get any of my choices, especially when I spent so long narrowing down the options.However, now I’ve settled in I’m not that bothered by it and I’m now looking forward to the year ahead.”
Meanwhile, a second-year Mathematics student commented: “It is important that new students should feel happy with their accommodation as it is the first impression they get of the University. I think the new system has definitely helped to improve that.”
A third-year Environmental Science student also agreed that the new accommodation preferences system was a vast improvement on the old one.
He told Nouse: “I remember having to constantly refresh the webpage when choosing my accommodation just to get through to the selection page. The new system sounds like a vast improvement on the old one and it appears that more people will be allocated accommodation that they actually want, instead of leaving it down to chance. However, it is very disappointing that, despite expressing ten different preferences, some students have not received any of their preferred accommodation options.”
David Duncan, Registrar and Secretary, said: “The University’s accommodation booking system invites students to express their preferences for the location and type of room they would prefer. Overall, we are satisfied that the system is working well, with the vast majority of students being allocated to their first preferences.
“Inevitably, in some areas demand exceeds supply; in these instances we offer rooms in colleges which are as close as possible to the preferences expressed by students.
“Where, for whatever reason, students are unhappy with their room allocation, we will of course do our best to offer them alternative accommodation.”