A recent Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) report published alongside Unipol found that student accommodation rent has increased by 14.6% over the last two academic years, leaving thousands of students with little to no maintenance loan left to live on. 

Students are left with just 50p a week to live on

The study revealed that, in the ten university cities surveyed, rent increased on average by £955 from the 2021/22 academic year to the current one, making the average rent price now £7,566 per year. Meanwhile, the average maintenance loan is £7,590, leaving students with a surplus of £24 – just 50p a week – left to live on. 

Calls on the government in the report recommended a major reform of the student loan system, stating that “the student maintenance system is broken.” HEPI also campaigned for increased financial support and cheaper accommodation options. 

The largest on-campus accommodation at the University of Sussex, East Slope, costs from £6,817 to £7,176 a year. It has been speculated that the new West Slope rooms could be upwards of this price. 

Meanwhile, off-campus a Zoopla report found Brighton is the UK’s third most expensive city to rent in as a student, with the average rental price soaring to £1,369 per month. Students have complained that the rent prices in no way reflect the condition of rooms, with the houses rented out to students being highly likely to be found mouldy, dirty, and broken upon moving in, with little landlord support. 

The Sussex Students Renters’ Union is a society aiming to address this problem. Their operating principles are based around the fact that “life as a student often begins with overpriced, poor-quality student halls, and continues into the Brighton rental market with exploitative private landlords.” The Union hopes to bring students together to discuss issues surrounding renting, educate students on their rights as tenants, and campaign for affordability, accessibility, and sustainability in rentals. More information is available on the society page on sussexstudent.com.

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