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Students Call on Government to Tackle High Rents

Posted by Aisling Murphy in , , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Research shows that the average amount students are paying for accommodation in Scottish university cities has increased 34% in 3 years.

The average rental fee in 2018 for purpose-built student accommodation was £5,111 annually; for the academic year 2021-22 this has risen to £6,853.

This extreme rise has caused the National Union of Students (NUS) in Scotland to speak out against what they consider to be a "fundamentally broken" system. They are appealing ministers to implement rent controls in order to tackle the worsening issue.

The current average rents in Scotland (£6,583) makes up 88% of the maximum student loan available (£7,750), this would leave students receiving this loan with just £22.42 per week for all other expenses. The average rent far exceeds the minimum loan amount that some students are entitled to, standing at 144% of the loan value.

Commenting on the issue, NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly has said that unless there is Government intervention there is a real possibility of many students being priced out of education.

He states "With a 34% rent hike over the last three years, it is clear that the student housing system in Scotland is fundamentally broken. It's no wonder so many students are living in poverty when rent is far higher than the average student support payment."

He affirmed: "We need to see action now so that no student has to face the prospect of experiencing homelessness, sacrificing food, or dropping out of college or university because of expensive rent."

"The Scottish Government must heed the warnings implicit in these eye-watering figures and urgently create a student housing strategy which includes rent controls. The disconnect between student income and rent levels poses an extreme and immediate threat to access and participation in education."

The Scottish government have said that they are already in the process of performing a review "to look at the financial burden accommodation costs put on students".

A spokesman has commented: "We are determined to improve accessibility, affordability and standards for rented homes."