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Fewer Students Returning to College Accommodation

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Analysis from the student newspaper Palatinate has found there to be a steady decline in the percentage of returning students living in their colleges.

This is despite Durham University's aspiration to accommodate 50-55% of students in College affiliated residences by 2027.

Whilst the intake for returning students living in college accommodation has been steady for most colleges, some have reported significant declines.

Van Mildert college returners increased from 685 in 2014-15 to 828 in 2018-19 but the percentage intake of returners living-in fell by 16.9% over the same period.

Meanwhile, Hatfield reported a drop of 17.7%, from housing 156 returners to 84.

One factor contributing to the decline may be price, with the cost rising from under £5,000 a year in 2011-12 to over £7,000 this year.

With more students choosing to live in private accommodation, the Durham housing market is becoming more competitive.

In a previous investigation by the Palatinate, the newspaper found that despite average house prices being lower in Durham compared to Lancaster, the average weekly rent of the cheapest catered college accommodation was £59.79 more.

Professor Martyn Evans, Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience), said: "We know some of our students face real financial pressures. The Durham Grant Scheme offers bursaries to home undergraduates, studying their first degree, who have a household income of less than £25,000 a year."

"We are, and will remain, a proudly collegiate university, and it is vitally important that our Colleges continue to be mixed communities, of new and returning students, undergraduates and postgraduates. Increasing the number, and thus proportion, of returning undergraduates is arguably the single most important aspect of the onward development of our College communities, and achieving this is, to my mind, a clear priority."