It’s no secret that students live their college lives on a budget. Transport, fees and the inevitable student social life can take its toll on a part-time wage and even a parent’s wages. Attending college in Dublin comes with the burden of paying the price of living in the capital. However, the recent price hike in student accommodation is blatant extortion of both students and their parents. The significant price increase will force many students to opt out of attending college in Dublin because the people running the student accommodations decide to increase the price for their own benefit.
It’s understandable that student accommodations are expensive to run and with the increase in rent prices across all across Dublin, student accommodations have the option to raise their annual fees. However, people renting inner city accommodation tend to be earning a full-time wage, they aren’t usually students depending on their parents and weekend jobs. A USI survey on student accommodation in 2017 said that 75 per cent of students pay for their own accommodation during term time; the price hikes will make this nearly impossible. And the managements in student accommodations need to be aware of this. By raising their prices, they are denying students the opportunity to pay for their own college life and limiting the access to education.
Raising the prices for student living is extortion and it’s taking advantage of students who are desperate to find somewhere to live. Some students currently studying in Dublin are boycotting the student accommodations but what about the incoming first years who know no different? They will end up paying between €8,000 and €9,000 for less than average accommodation on top of their fees, transport and additional living expenses. And what about parents with more than one child in college in Dublin? How can managements justify taking huge sums of money from one family? And if they’re going to take such extortionate amounts of money from families at least justify the price increase. Staying silent on the issue doesn’t improve their reputation.
The sad reality is, student accommodations have the power to do this. They take advantage of vulnerable families and students who are forced to pay this money so they have a roof over their heads for the year. Unfortunately, as well as the families and students suffering, the colleges are beginning to suffer as well. Students often spend the first few weeks of college homeless, moving from couch to couch until they can find some form of accommodations that’s within their budget. The USI, together with universities, should be pushing for student rent caps. Even though student accommodations are privately run, students and parents still need to be protected from the continuing increase.
Incoming students should only have to worry about getting the points to get into their chosen course. They shouldn’t have to worry about loans and price hikes and whether or not they will be homeless or even able to afford to go to college. The continued price hikes are setting students up on a rocky road. If we continue to let this happen students will be leaving college with their degrees and a whole lot of unnecessary student debt.
Image Credit Aoibhin Bryant