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Private Halls of Residence for Students will Grow in Popularity

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Ceri in Investment

The issue of providing enough student accommodation now that the recruitment cap has been lifted is becoming a bone of contention for universities in the UK.

Most universities will be recruiting increasing numbers of students from September and it looks like there will be growing demand for private student accommodation – especially in halls of residence.

The situation has been compounded by the fact that many universities are behind schedule in building their own private halls of residence for their students.

Private halls of residence for new students

Last September, several universities found themselves struggling to find accommodation for students when an extra 30,000 student places were made available in England.

For instance, scores of first-year students at the University of Bristol had to share rooms in their halls of residence, many of them in bunk bed, after student numbers rose by 38% more than were registered in 2011.

According to the Times Higher Education (THE) publication, the National Union of Students is increasingly concerned about future student accommodation problems and they say that private halls of residence are growing in popularity.

In addition, the union points out, there is an increasing problem with private rental students’ accommodation that is in a poor condition.

Among the universities struggling to accommodate students last year was the University of Winchester when more than 100 of its students were left without accommodation and some were put up in hotels while others were sent to live in Southampton.

Spending on student accommodation rockets

THE points to research carried out by BiGGAR Economics recently which revealed that the Russell Group of Universities will spend more than £9bn between 2012 and 2017 on new student halls of residence and facilities.

The growth in student numbers also means that there’s increasing development by private firms to build halls of residences to help accommodate students around the country.

The situation was underlined by real estate firm Knight Frank which found that most university cities lacked quality purpose-built student accommodation.

Universities are also now working with developers to provide private halls of residence to ensure they can accommodate their increasing student numbers.

UK needs more private halls of residence

Despite the best efforts of universities, there will still be problems with a lack of accommodation for students, says the NUS’ welfare vice-president Colum McGuire.

He pointed out: “Universities have failed to plan strategically for student accommodation needs which has led to housing shortages and a sense of mistrust.”

The upshot is that students will increasingly turn to private halls of residences in growing numbers for the foreseeable future until universities manage to build enough of their own accommodation to house their students.


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