Warwick rent doubles in a decade

**Student accommodation prices have risen steeply in ten years across the UK, and more than doubled for some campus residencies at Warwick.**

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the _Boar_ discovered that the cost of campus accommodation at Warwick has risen by 95 per cent, on average. This is compared to the national average price increase of 97 per cent across ten years, according to a study by the National Union of Students (NUS).

The NUS report (which was released in November 2012) covered 350,000 student bed spaces – about 80 per cent of the student accommodation market – and revealed that students are paying nearly twice as much for a university room as they were ten years ago.

The FOI revealed that the prices of all campus residencies at Warwick have risen in the past decade.

Arthur Vick and Jack Martin accommodation saw the sharpest increase in weekly rent across a decade, with prices rising by 116 per cent and 114 per cent, respectively. In 2001/02, it would have cost a student £62.60 per week to stay in Arthur Vick, whereas in 2012/13 it costs £135. For Jack Martin, a student paid £62 ten years ago, but today pays £131.

Tocil was the next steepest in price increase across the decade, with weekly rent rising by 97 per cent. Rootes was 12 percent behind the national average, rising by 85 per cent in a decade. Ten years ago, rent cost students £48 for either Halls, but today they pay £95 per week for Tocil and £89 for Rootes.

Rent for Redfern and Whitefields increased the least, by 78 per cent across ten years. The cost for Redfern rose from £47.10 to £84, and Whitefields from £44.30 to £79.

Pete Mercer, vice president for welfare at the NUS, said: “Student rents have skyrocketed, leaving fewer reasonably priced accommodation options for students from lower and middle income backgrounds who are really feeling the pinch.”

President of the Students’ Union, Nick Swain, pointed out an interesting pattern in student rents at Warwick, but emphasised the University’s duty to provide a range of prices.

“When students apply to live on campus the most popular options are generally the most expensive halls on offer, whilst the cheaper alternatives are rarely oversubscribed, “ he said.

“As a result, the University uses a pricing mechanism that subsidises the cheapest halls with the rents from the most expensive.”

“This strategy means that Warwick has one of the most diverse range of prices in the country and especially amongst other Russell Group universities. Warwick SU supports this initiative as it results in a campus that meets the demand of its residents and offers those that want cheap accommodation some of the best options in the country.”

However, some students were worried about the affordability of campus accommodation coupled with rising fees. Second-year Maths student Luke Cohen was astounded by the growth. He said: “I can’t believe that some residencies have more than doubled, it’s pretty shocking and is going to make it really tough on some people. I feel lucky that I stayed in Rootes last year.”

Raphael Levy, a first year Philosophy, Politics and Economics student lives in Arthur Vick this year and thinks more should be done to help students struggling to pay their rent. He said: “Seeing as my maintenance loan covers just over half my accommodation fees, any further price increases seem unfair.

“Whilst it is moderately uplifting to hear Warwick is below the national average, it would be better to hear that both averages were lower. Funds must be made available to help students not as lucky as me. I know flat mates with much higher maintenance loans who, without parents’ help, couldn’t pay off accommodation fees alone.”

However, Peter Dunn, head of communications at the University of Warwick pointed out that the University offered “a range of rents”.

He said: “It would be difficult to compare each hall individually without looking in detail at the refits and changes to them each have had over that decade. Actually if you compare our campus rents with other Russell Group universities you will find they are often lower per week, and students are often able to take out shorter rental periods as we are able to keep rent lower because of our conference trade income.”

Second-year Engineering student Rhys Thomas agreed. “Every year there seems to be a massive demand for freshers and finalists to get campus accommodation, and I don’t think that this would be the case if they perceived it as too expensive. The demand doesn’t seem to vary greatly with price increase; it’s known in economic terms as price inelasticity.”

Warwick’s increase in rent for campus accommodation is also significantly lower than the average weekly rent for students in London who pay £157.48 a week – a 26percent increase on 2009/10 alone. The study also revealed that the most expensive private accommodation for students in the capital was available for £415 per week.

The cheapest residency at Warwick is Cryfield, which costs

The NUS has urged universities to take a close look at the affordability of student accommodation.

“The responsibility of universities to support their students does not begin and end at the doors of the lecture hall,” said the vice president for welfare at the NUS.


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