UCD’s on-campus accommodation will increase by 4% year on year for the next three years. A premium of €1,000 on average will also be charged to the 1,000 newly built student bedrooms. This news was announced on February 5th by UCD Students’ Union.
A UCD spokesperson has said the decision was made “in order to secure adequate funding for the maintenance of existing on-campus student accommodation and the provision of 3,000 new beds; 924 to come on stream in September 2020.”
In an “infuriated” press release, UCDSU President Joanna Siewierska hit back at UCD, saying: “It is shocking to see Ireland’s largest, public university use student accommodation to make a profit, and do nothing to help students manage the crippling rents in Dublin.” The Students’ Union is also calling for an “immediate reversal” of this decision.
According to the Students’ Union, the decision was made “behind closed doors by the University Management Team, with zero consultation with any student representatives.”
The University Management Team is made up of 12 UCD Staff members, including: Professor Andrew Deeks (President of UCD), Professor Mark Rogers (Registrar and Deputy President of UCD), the heads of the six colleges of UCD and other notable UCD staff members. The decision to increase rents for on-campus accommodation was made in a meeting held on the morning of Tuesday February 4th.
According to a UCD spokesperson, the university’s rent increase is planned for the next 3 years “after which it will review the rents, and reduce the increases or even freeze them, if financially possible.”
“This 4% increase translates to a rent per week for on-campus residences for the academic year 2020-2021 of between €162pw and €229pw, depending on the residence.
“The University is currently constructing new residences and a student village. This development is costing in the region of €500m and is funded largely through bank loans. These new residences will command a higher rent averaging €257 per week for 38 weeks.
“UCD points out that the University funds specific services to support students living on campus, including duty managers who are on call 24/7, pastoral care, and social and amenity services.”
UCDSU President Siewierska went on to say: “UCD is using rents on campus to raise funds to build further extortionately priced accommodation. It is a clear sign that UCD is only interested in recruiting students who can afford to pay incredibly high rents to attend it or become crippled by debt. This does not meet the needs of the vast majority of young people and families in Ireland. This does not reflect the ethos or goals of a public education.”
She added: “Their action is a symbol of their utter disconnect from the student experience and profit-driven decision-making mindset. The welfare of students and ensuring access to education for all is a secondary concern, at best.”
Conor Capplis – Editor