Student Judges Boycott Property Awards

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Student judges have refused to pick a winner at the first ever Student Accommodation Awards, held by Property Week, in defiance against increasing rent prices.

10 students from across the country were asked to pick the winner from a shortlist of providers within the "student experience" category for the inaugural Student Accommodation Awards. Instead the judges criticised the entrants for pricing out poorer students and driving the "social cleansing of education".

The student panel cited a 2015 study by the NUS, which indicates that university rent in the UK has increased by 18% over the past two years, which is predominately due to the growth of private student accommodation providers.

The panel said of the category: "Asking us to hand out an award when so many students are being pushed into poverty makes a mockery of what is a very real crisis."

The open letter was tweeted to Property Week and cited providers inability to meet the urgent need of students to live in accommodation that will not force them into poverty.

In particular the letter pointed to the fact that those nominated for the award included those who are charging more than £300 per week, which was cited as being above the level which a student loan would reasonably cover.

In addition, the students raised concerns over rising student debts lining the pockets of shareholders, with working class students being priced out, unable to access higher education altogether.

The panel finished the letter by urging providers to invest in affordable accommodation so that the future of higher education is open to all, regardless of parental income.