In a new survey, Dublin has been ranked as the most expensive city in the Eurozone, due largely to its high rents. Mercer’s 2020 cost of living survey identifies Dublin as the 6th most expensive city in Europe, but the most expensive in the Eurozone. Noel O’Connor, a senior consultant at Mercer Ireland, attributes Dublin’s ranking to “the high cost of rent in the city.” According to Daft.ie, the average monthly cost of renting in Dublin is now €2,021, with no change since this time last year.
Although the Mercer survey focused on the cost of living for expatriates, university residences reflect the high cost of rent in Dublin. For the 2020/2021 academic year, the price of on-campus accommodation at UCD ranges from €6,982 (Blackrock Halls) to €11,926 (Roebuck Castle) for two semesters. The average price across the eight campus residences for this period is roughly €900 a month. This represents a general increase from the 2019/2020 period, where the prices ranged from €6,745 to €11,591 respectively.
At DCU, prices for on-campus residences range from €6,015 to €6,716 for a full academic year. Prices at both universities include utilities. At Trinity Hall, Trinity College’s off-campus residences, prices start at €5,072.27 for a single room with a shared bathroom, with an additional charge of €459.11 for utilities.
The prices of university residences in Dublin fall below the average cost of rent across the city but cost far more in comparison with other universities in the Eurozone.
At the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris, student accommodation is run by CROUS, an organisation that operates student residences and university restaurants across France. The average monthly price of student accommodation there starts at €247. The highest average monthly price is €489, just over half of the monthly average in UCD. Berlin’s Humboldt University states that student dormitories and residences across the city are run by the “Studierendenwerk”, a student welfare organisation. Prices are from €185 to €430 a month, even lower than Paris. At the University of Amsterdam, the monthly rent at the university residences is from €300 to €850, excluding administrative fees and local taxes. Although the University of Amsterdam is the most expensive of the three, its cheapest accommodation costs less than half of its equivalent at UCD.
Andrew Gallagher is studying at Maynooth University and has been commuting to college from his family home in Longford since 2018. “I was initially looking at UCD or Trinity in sixth year because I really wanted to study in Dublin, but when I looked at the prices of their campus accommodation, I knew they were way out of my budget. At this point, I knew studying in Dublin wasn’t really a viable option,” Gallagher tells the College Tribune. He further commented on rent prices in Maynooth too: “I’m not sure if it’s because we’re in the Dublin commuter belt, but it’s definitely having an impact on students whose rent is increasing, but whose grants or wages aren’t. It definitely puts lower income and rural students at a disadvantage. I spend around 60 hours a month commuting and it makes me a lot less focused on study when I’m persistently tired.”
Viktoria Zarcilla, who studies at UCD, has had similar difficulties. She has commuted from her home in Monaghan to UCD since 2016. “I didn’t know what to expect from UCD’s accommodation, but I didn’t think it would cost so much. Looking at other colleges, UCD is one of the most expensive ones, and it works out cheaper for me to commute. It’s around €83 a week, but it does take 2 hours to get home from college, sometimes 3 on bad days,” she says. It has also had a negative impact on her social life at college: “In orientation week, you learn all about the clubs and societies on offer at UCD but you don’t get to go to most of them since they usually start or end late and it’s a big trek to get home. It does take a toll on your mental health unfortunately.”
Isobel Dunne – Reporter