Why I started a petition to get accommodation costs down

[Oliver Price | Contributing Writer]

Earlier this year, I wrote about the rising cost of accommodation for students at the University of Hertfordshire who live on campus (i.e. mainly first years) in UniVerse.

In the coming September, the cheapest available single room on campus will cost £115.85 a week, or about £4,750 for the year. This means that someone who is on the maximum student loan and grant will be living on about £40 a week once deposit is accounted for. Of course, a lot of people don’t get the full loan and grant and their parents cannot afford more to give them money to live on, meaning that their weekly living costs will have to be even lower.

Among the cited reasons for the high cost of accommodation at the University are ‘markets’, and the fact that Hatfield is fairly close to London. Unfortunately, the ‘markets’ don’t dictate how much student loan is received and Hatfield is outside of the London student loan catchment area, where you get a larger student loan, whereas Universities like Brunel are (Brunel, by the way, actually provide lower cost accommodation than Hertfordshire). If the government doesn’t consider Hatfield to have London prices, why do the university price the accommodation like it does?

These frankly extortionate costs could lead to very serious cash-flow problems for students living on campus, especially during the slightly longer second term, or for those doing very time-consuming degrees such as Paramedic Science or Nursing.

I propose that the next wave of accommodation buildings should include lower cost alternatives to what currently exists. Many students would prefer to forgo the luxuries that are in the majority of Hertfordshire accommodations now (such as en-suites & large bedrooms) for a lower rent, something between £80-£100. This would mean that students have a lot more money to live off and actually be able to enjoy their time at University, rather than having a constant worry about being able to pay the rent.

One final point I would like to make is that it’s not exactly fair that I got to live on Roberts Way for a far more reasonable price, and that the new first years cannot live for the same price.

As of 1pm on Wednesday 20th May, the petition already has over 350 supporters. Thank you to everyone who has signed it so far. If you haven’t signed and agree that accommodation should be cheaper, please do so; and please share (http://tiny.cc/ynefyx) the petition so we can get to 500 signatures, or even 1000!

What do you think? Tweet about the campaign with the hashtag #FairRentHerts

The opinions expressed here are the writers’ own and are not endorsed by Trident Media or Hertfordshire Students’ Union.

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Why I started a petition to get accommodation costs down