NUI Galway has become the latest university to announce plans to increase on-campus rent prices by four per cent for the next academic year, bringing the monthly cost of a single room to €750.
Last week, The University Times revealed that Trinity may do the same, with a proposal to increase rents set to come up at the next meeting of its Finance Committee.
NUI Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) has called the decision “outrageous” and “another barrier to access to education for students”.
In a press statement, NUIGSU president Clare Austick said: “We meet students everyday who have to work two or more part-time jobs to stay in college, students who commute huge distances, students who can’t afford decent accommodation and students who aren’t in college who should be. We are outraged that in the midst of an accommodation crisis the University is again looking to profit from the desperation of students looking for accommodation.”
Earlier this week, the College View reported that DCU will increase rents by four per cent for the next academic year.
In a statement to the College View, DCU’s chief operations officer, Declan Raftery, wrote: “The pricing structure for DCU’s students residences is reviewed annually and for the next academic year… the prices will be increased by 4%.”
Last week, the Irish Times reported that UCD plans to increase on-campus rent by 12 per cent over the next three years, to as high as almost €10,000. In a statement, UCD said the rent increases were required to pay for the maintenance of current student accommodation, as well as help fund plans to build additional campus housing.
Last week, this newspaper revealed that Trinity’s Finance Committee will discuss a rent increase of four per cent to its campus accommodation, as well as a “€10 per week premium” on rooms in the College’s Printing House Square complex.
The increases, according to a document obtained by The University Times, have been floated amid risks of “a significant negative impact” on the Colleges’ finances, “resulting from a drop in demand (occupancy) due to the price sensitivity of student accommodation and the nature of the accommodation department’s fixed cost base”.
In an email statement to The University Times, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Laura Beston said that the union “fully opposes” the proposal.
“We will do whatever we must in the lead up to, and in the aftermath of, this meeting to ensure that students are not burdened with an increase in rent”, she said. “We are already working on ensuring that this decision does not pass and will fight this decision with all the resources we have.”
“The SU has seen an alarming increase in the number of students commuting, facing financial issues and even having to drop out of college due to the Housing Crisis. We will not stand idly by while we have the power to oppose a decision at a college level that may help alleviate one of the biggest pressure points facing our students.”
On Wednesday, at a town hall organised by TCDSU, students agreed to organise a direct action next week in protest at the increase.