Dublin City University (DCU) President Brian MacCraith has condemned the lack of regulation of the student rental sector.
MacCraith was critical of the “escalating and uncontrolled” cost of student accommodation and warned that if such increases are to continue, a “family income based barrier” will develop, barring working class students from accessing third-level education.
The Irish Times first reported on MacCraith’s comments.
This comes after three privately owned student accommodation providers, which DCU advertises to its students, announced that rent would be increased by over €1,000 for the next academic year. Shanowen Hall will charge an additional €1,191 for a single ensuite next year, bringing the rental cost for the academic year to €8,325, while Shanowen Square has increased its prices from €7,340 to €8,695.
Gateway Student Village provides the most expensive accommodation of the three complexes, and will charge students €8,980 for nine months in a single ensuite room.
MacCraith has called the escalating cost of student accommodation “simply unacceptable” and “completely contrary to current government policies”. Despite the university’s efforts to provide affordable on campus accommodation, “demand is now far outstripping supply”, he stated, with four applications having been made for every single bed-space available in the last academic year.
The price hikes were criticised by Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU) in an open letter last week. Denouncing the “abhorrent financial pressure” many students face, the letter stated that: “Education is becoming more of a commodity and access if becoming limited to only those who can afford to pay huge amounts each year.”
DCU has a greater percentage of access students than any other university in the country, and DCUSU President Niall Behan expressed his concern to The University Times that as rental costs spiral upwards, “they are pricing students out of accommodation, they are pricing students out of education”.
MacCraith stated that a “longer term, more sustainable solution” is necessary to prevent this from happening. “If regulation and supply are not addressed, student accommodation costs will invariably continue to increase.”