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Five Ideas: What we learnt at the #Liber8 Student Housing Day

Thursday 30-03-2017 - 12:02

The cost of student housing continues to rise, while financial support for students has not kept up. We held a #Liber8 campaign day at University of the Arts London to discuss how we can combat the student housing crisis.

1. The cost of rent is rising, but the student maintenance package isn’t

Only 14 per cent of students in London said they can afford to pay more than £200 a week in rent. Yet the average room costs £226. In other parts of the country, the maintenance has not kept up with increases in rent. The University of Surrey Students' Union have launched their ‘Living at Limit’ manifesto, to highlight the problem and demand an increase in loans to match the rise.

2. Student accommodation is being built… but students can’t afford it

1,500 rooms in "luxury" student halls in London sit empty because students can't afford them. Places in affordable accommodation are usually over-applied, with only 1 in 5 applications being successful. Meanwhile there is a housing crisis across the city, with thousands out homeless or in temporary accommodation.

3. It is impacting on student mental heath

According to recent research by Nightline, an increasing number of students are feeling like they are a treadmill – saving where they can and taking on extra jobs just to make the rent. This is having an adverse effect both on student mental health and their academic attainment.

4. But there’s good news…SUs are setting up guarantors schemes

Finding a guarantor for a tenancy agreement is a real problem for many students. Care-leavers or those estranged from their parents find this difficult, as well as International Students who struggle to find a guarantor that is UK-based. Some university have guarantor schemes, but others don’t. Students’ unions have started setting them up too. Check out our ‘How to’ guide.

5. When you strike… you win

UCL students won a famous victory last year, when they secured nearly £500,000 to fund student bursaries. Students are setting up rent strike groups across the UK, and NUS will be releasing a ‘How-To’ guide in the coming weeks.

Find out more about our Liber8 campaign for affordable housing for all.

 

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