The annual National Student Accommodation Survey, published on 8 February, has highlighted the serious struggles facing students across the UK in finding and affording suitable housing. The survey of over 1,000 students revealed that two in five have considered dropping out of university due to the soaring cost of rent, with 64% admitting that they struggle to pay. Additionally, over a third of students surveyed reported experiencing issues with dampness in their accommodation. 

Further findings of the survey report concerning details of rent prices which average £550 a month per student across the UK, rising to £778 for the average student in London. 50% of respondents also feel concerned about the housing shortage, which the survey finds is forcing students to start looking for accommodation earlier every year. Additionally, young people face fears that they may not be able to escape these ever climbing rent prices, with 14% having anxieties that they will never be able to buy their own house. 

Save the Student’s Communications Director, Tom Allingham, stated in a petition to the government to increase maintenance loans that the findings are “highlighting how the intensified difficulties students have faced in recent years have not eased, but instead become entrenched.” Allingham goes on to insist that the government increase Maintenance Loans by more than the planned 2.5% in the next academic year in order to “close the inflationary gap and ensure students can actually afford to cover everyday expenses like rent.” The Save the Student petition currently has over 12,000 signatures and can be supported online. 

In another response to the survey, the Chair of the National Association of Student Money Advisers, Kellie McAlonan, argues that the data allows “colleges and universities from across the country to better understand the challenges students are facing.” She further supports the argument that the Maintenance Loan needs to be rethought. 

These concerns affect students daily and have a discouraging impact – one first-year student in Brighton commented “all this debt doesn’t seem worth it sometimes.” According to the survey findings and responses, it seems that the government will be facing pressure to match Maintenance Loans to the inflating prices in the 2024/25 academic year.

Photo by Yaopey Yong


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