A recent decision by DCU management to increase the cost of on-campus accommodation by four per cent has left students outraged.
The College View became aware of this decision to increase the cost of on-campus accommodation on Wednesday, February 12th when questioning Chief Operations Officer, Dr Declan Raferty about the rent increase in UCD for the next three academic years and whether or not a similar situation could occur in DCU.
DCUSU has condemned the decision with President, Christine Farrell saying: “students are already under huge financial burdens in the midst of the accommodation crisis with some facing long commutes from places such as Belfast and the west of Ireland.”
The rent increase of four per cent for the academic year 2020/2021 comes as part of a major refurbishment programme by DCU, with the university investing €3.8 million in accommodation over the past three years, with a further €1.8 million refurbishment programme set to take place.
Vice President for the Dublin Region with the Union of Students in Ireland, Craig McHugh said: “This region is already in the grips of one of the worst housing crises in Europe, the decision to shift the cost burden of funding student accommodation on to students further greatly undermines conversations around student wellbeing.”
This news comes alongside a recent decision by UCD to increase the cost of campus accommodation by four per cent per year for the next three years.
President of UCDSU, Joanna Siewierska said: “This rent hike will certainly affect students who are living on campus.
“Students and their families will be put under an additional strain when budgeting to go to college, and it will mean anything from needing to work extra hours, or having to pause their studies entirely.”
Similarly to DCU, UCD also has plans to increase capacity across their campus accommodation, hence driving up the price of accommodation for current and prospective students.
Dr Raferty told The College View that DCU secured planning permission back in December for the creation of an additional 1,240 bedrooms on the Glasnevin campus to help address the shortage of student accommodation in the region.
He added: “As there are no government grants or supports available for such developments this significant capital investment will be made by DCU itself through debt finance.”
Under the Residential Tenancies Bill introduced back in July 2019, purpose built student accommodation has fallen under rent caps of four per cent per year in rent pressure zones such as Dublin.
In keeping with this bill, both DCU and UCD have opted to increase the cost of on-campus accommodation rent by the maximum amount legally possible, with Trinity College currently considering following suit.
It currently remains unclear as to whether or not DCU will follow the precedent of UCD and increase the cost of accommodation by a further four per cent in subsequent academic terms.
According to Dr Raferty: “the pricing structure is reviewed annually.”
Image Credit: Sonja Tutty