The University of Sussex has placed 180 students in hotel accommodation. Coming at a time of increasing student numbers following the admissions cap being lifted in 2015, this has affected students who were not guaranteed accommodation by the University; such as those who put Sussex as their second choice, who came through clearing or are on a part-time ‘Study Abroad’ program.
Thirty students are sharing twin rooms at the three-star White Heart Hotel in Lewes, paying £148 per week each.
Located 4.7 miles from campus, they are not permitted to use the kitchen facilities and are instead served two meals per day at set times by the on-site restaurant.
The hotel does not currently have laundry facilities and, while these are being built, students have been advised to use the launderette at Park Village. They must also share the hotel’s social spaces with other guests.
There are also 150 exchange and visiting students staying at the Langford and Imperial Hotels in Hove.
Students who were offered accommodation at the hotel have raised concerns about both missing out on the University experience and the distance it lies from campus.
Current student Siad who was offered accomodation at the hotel but turned it down said, ‘I don’t think the hotel should be considered an option of accommodation’.
Dominic – also a first year student – was given an unconditional offer by Sussex but decided he wanted to live in Brighton. Having struggled to find somewhere within his price range he was ‘delighted’ to receive an offer of accommodation from the Housing Office, but was ‘absolutely gutted to see I had been offered a hotel in Lewes and for such a high price’, going on to state that he thought the price was ‘ridiculous’.
In a statement, Charles Dudley, the University of Sussex’s Director of Residential and Campus Services, said: ‘We’ve been pleased that not only have we been able to house all students who are guaranteed accommodation, but we’ve provided housing to an additional 600 students who are not on the guaranteed list.
‘From speaking to the students, we know that this has taken away the hassle of looking for housing at a time when they are trying to settle into their studies and socialise.
‘The University also provides help and advice for those students who want support to get private housing and this year over 50 students took us up on that offer.’
Last year rent in Brighton increased by an average of 18%, compared to the national average of 4.9%. It is also one of only two cities in the UK where rent is over £1000 a month on average.
The price of campus accommodation has become a contentious issue within the student community. It was revealed that the university makes over £1m surplus a year from student rent, which in some accomodaton excedes 70% of student loans.
A group of students have set up a campaign called Cut the Rent, their chief damand being that the highest rents be capped at 70% of the maximum student loan.