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Thousands of Students Face University Rent Arrears

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

New figures suggest more than 17,000 students living in university halls fell behind on rent payments in the last year.

Data obtained from a freedom of information request indicates there's been a 16% rise in the number of students facing rental arrears in university accommodation. The figures also show that the number of students facing eviction has also risen, albeit from a low base.

Data uncovered by the Liberal Democrats shows 97 students were expelled from halls last year, more than double the 40 who were evicted in the previous year, while 17,300 has fallen into rental arrears.

The data was based on responses from 90 universities in the UK and shows average rents at the halls of those universities that responded increased from £4,583 a year in 2012 to £5,208 in 2016, a rise of 13.6%.

Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of the higher education lobby group Universities UK, suggesting there was now a need to reinstate maintenance grants for those struggling.

Meanwhile, Izzy Lenga, vice-president of the National Union of Students, said the figures were not surprising and reflected a "broken system of student financial support, which doesn't even begin to cover the ever-increasing cost of basic accommodation."

The Department for Education suggested those from the lowest-income households have access to the largest ever amounts of cash-in-hand support for living costs.