Credit: University of Glasgow

First year students “in limbo” as University takes away accommodation guarantee

By Luke Chafer

First year students and postgraduate students are no longer entitled to an accommodation offer from the University.

Yesterday the University of Glasgow announced that incoming first year and postgraduate students who live within a “commutable distance” will not be able to secure University provided accommodation. 

The University this year changed its policy which previously guaranteed all first year students to receive an offer of accommodation. The change to the policy, made on 18 March 2022, added the following caveat: “In years of exceptionally high demand, students who live within a reasonable commuting distance will not be offered accommodation until a room becomes available. This may be after the start of the semester.” 

The Glasgow Guardian has seen an email sent to first year students from the University on 9 August informing that any incoming student who has not yet received confirmation of University Accomodation is no longer guaranteed it, and advises against travelling to Glasgow or completing registration and enrolment until accommodation has been secured.

Lynne Mackintosh, whose son Archie is due to start studying Economics at the University of Glasgow this year, told The Glasgow Guardian students have been “left in limbo” and commented on the “poor communication” from the University, since they have not been outright denied accommodation nor accepted.

Their case also stands in contradiction to the University’s statement that accommodation will be denied to students living within a commutable distance, since Archie lives in South Edinburgh.

Lynne told The Glasgow Guardian that she has spoken to parents of students in England who also received this email, one of whom contacted accommodation services to be told that “if you received that email, you weren’t getting accommodation.”

“If they could see this was an issue in March why didn’t they flag it to students who would then factor it in when making their preferences?” Lynne commented, who added that her son would have opted for a place at the University of Dundee over Glasgow had he been aware of the situation.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “Regrettably, due to a significant contraction in the private rental market, demand for rooms continues to be substantially ahead of expectation and we are no longer in a position to provide guaranteed University accommodation. Despite having increased the number of rooms under University management by 25 per cent for the new academic year, we are having to prioritise accommodation for students who are unable to travel from home.

“We understand the concern students have about finding accommodation for the new semester. While we are unable to offer accommodation for students living within reasonable commuting distance, we will continue to check regularly on the availability of private provider accommodation and will share updates when we have them. For information and advice on finding private rented accommodation we encourage students to contact the Students’ Representative Council Advice Centre.”

Glasgow University’s Student Representative Council (SRC) released a statement in which it expressed “disappointment at the University’s approach.” 

The SRC stated: “After the accommodation crisis across Glasgow last year, the SRC lobbied the University to commit to a moratorium on student numbers, despite this it now seems that over-recruitment has contributed to the creation of a similar situation.

The statement continues: “We understand that many of you will be upset and disappointed, and as the representatives of all students at the University, we share those feelings.  We will continue to work to encourage the University to take a stronger approach to managing student numbers and work to mitigate the impact of what is a UK wide housing issue with many contributing factors.”

Advice for students looking for privately rented accomodation and those planning to commute from home can be found on the SRC website


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