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Student Accommodation Costs across 10 Cities in the UK

students putting their hand in the middle

New evidence has emerged from a report published by Unipol which reveals the sheer scale of rent rises afflicting students. Shockingly, rent costs will now eat up almost 100% of the average maintenance loan.  NUS believe it is now inarguable that something must be done to address the situation.

  1. In 2023/24, average annual rents for Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) were £7,475.
  2. In 2021/22, the average annual rent for PBSA was £6,530. 
  3. This is an increase of 14% across the two academic years – up by more than 7% each year. 
  4. Overall rents have risen by £945 since 2021/22.

Yet while rents have spiralled, student loans have not kept pace with inflation.

  1. Student Loan rates increased by 3.1% in 2021–22 and 2.3% in 2022–23.
  2. But inflation has run above 5% since October 2021 and more than 10% since October 2022. This means loans designed to meet living costs have failed to reflect the rapidly rising cost of living.

So, it should surprise no one that the student loan is now almost entirely eaten up by rent

  1. Average student loans for 2023/24 for full-time students are expected to be £7,590.
  2. But average rents are expected to be £7,566, meaning they will eat up almost 100% of the student loan, leaving just 0.32% left over, or just £24.
  3. Even those students receiving the maximum student loan will see 76% of it eaten up by accommodation costs across the three years of the survey.

NUS UK Vice President for Higher Education, Chloe Field, said:  

 “NUS has warned about spiralling rents for a long time now and it being the main driver of the perfect storm which is afflicting students – alongside the cost-of-living crisis and inflation which has led to soaring energy bills and travel costs. This report is one of many showing the definitive proof of just how bad things have got and government and the universities simply cannot ignore it any longer. The fact that students living under the constant threat of homelessness due to not being able to afford rent has become the norm shows how this government has acted with absolutely no care for students or the future of this country.

“Universities must cap rents and stop treating students like cash cows, while watching on idly as private providers take advantage of increasingly desperate students.  We are now at the point where accommodation costs are pricing students out of certain universities, which will have disastrous consequences for students from poorer backgrounds being able to access to education. With an election approaching, and students increasingly angry at being ignored, the government must take action to ensure an affordable bed for every student. This means a significant uplift to the Maintenance loans, implementing rent controls, and overhauling the student funding system whilst returning to a grants system. Universities should stop ignoring their duty to ensure affordable bedspaces for their students, set rents fairly and urgently intervene to use their influence on the local rental market”.  

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