To put it mildly, Durham students are not pleased about the recent accommodation fee hikes, which now make living at the university over £2000 more expensive than living at York or Newcastle, due to increases of over 20% over the past three years.
In response, Durham Students for University Reform have launched a campaign whereby they are handing out leaflets outlining the proposed costs to prospective students and their parents at Durham's post-offer open days. They are asking visitors to email the Accommodation Office with their concerns, hoping that it will put more pressure on the university to be more transparent and involve students in the setting of the fees.
Harry Cross, co-chair of Durham Students for University Reforms said that: "We've already had several parents express genuine concern about accommodation fees at Durham, offering their full support to our campaign." Another student involved in the campaign, Paul Cohen, stated that: "I'm hoping to highlight how the University's accommodation fees will exclude people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. If I'd known how bad accommodation fees were going to get when applying, I probably would have had second thoughts about Durham."
Professor Graham Towl, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Warden, retorted by saying that: "The University is committed to freedom of expression within the law and we encourage free expression and debate amongst staff, students and visitors. As a university we have been transparent about our costs and remain competitive in terms of our accommodation pricing." The below statistics though beg to differ.