Arthur investigates the recent rise in student accommodation costs at Durham University, which will see the cost of student halls increasing to £7,171 per year, causing uproar among students.
The protest was led by Megan Croll, the president of Durham University students union, who spoke out strongly against the rise by comparing the costs to average house in the same area. Croll said that “The cost of college accommodation is now more than what the cost of repayments on a mortgage on a two-bedroom new build house within the same five mile radius could be. This is for a single room, often in a poorly maintained state to the point of mould, holes in the roof and rats.”
In defence of this, the university has stressed that students from low-income families can get help through the Durham Grant, while an accommodation bursary is also available to first year students.
Pro-vice chancellor Owen Adams has also stepped forward to defend the University, explaining that student accommodation offers much more than just a place to live, in that it creates a communal environment for students to bond and form long-lasting relationships. Hence, the rise in accommodation comes not only from rent costs, but the work put in to provide a safe sociable environment where students ‘’can develop curiosity, personal effectiveness, and a sense of belonging forever.” Mr Adams emphasises the point that the students should consider things like cost of security, office staff, clubs and societies, the upkeep of communal areas and events throughout the year, so that they can understand the reasons behind the increase.
Despite the protests it looks as if the University will go ahead with the accommodation increases for the upcoming year, with students having to find a way to cope with the increase.
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