Autumn of student activism begins over rising cost of university halls

Most students settling in at university this autumn are worrying about seminars and exams, but Caitlin Ghibout, a second-year anthropology student at Durham, is angry about rents. Specifically, the fact that the high costs of college accommodation leave a student on the maximum maintenance loan just £1,270 to cover living costs for the year. The Guardian reports.

“Rents have been rising significantly every year since 2010,” she says. “It’s got to the point where, if you were looking at which university to go to but didn’t have much money, you wouldn’t be able to come to Durham.”

Ghibout is part of a growing movement of student activists holding their universities to account for allowing rents to soar. According to the National Union of Students, rents accounted for 73% of the maximum student loan last year, compared with 58% in 2011-12. Since average annual rents are more than £6,000, a student receiving the average maintenance loan can scarcely cover this.

Some student activists have already enjoyed success. At the end of last year, Liverpool University bowed to pressure about raising rents to an average of £158 a week after extensively refurbishing its accommodation. The university agreed to bursaries for the 25% of students with the lowest household income as of September this year.

Read the full article Autumn of student activism begins over rising cost of university halls 


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