University of Stirling accommodation. Credit: Flickr

UofG ramps up accommodation capacity despite a cap on student numbers

By Luke Chafer

Figures obtained by The Glasgow Guardian show that the University of Glasgow has increased accommodation capacity for the coming year by 63%, with over 8000 available beds for the coming academic year. Of the 2954 new beds, half have been secured with external contractors. 

The data also shows that the number of beds has increased by 240% since 2021. Last year the proportion of beds to offers given to first-year undergraduate offers actually increased but despite this, the first-year accommodation guarantee broke down, with students told they would not receive an accommodation offer if they lived within a “commutable distance”. An investigation by The Glasgow Guardian previously highlighted that despite there not being a considerable rise in the first-year offers last academic year the make-up of them has changed significantly over the last five years, with the number of international offers doubling.

The use of external contractors is also a recent policy development as in 2021 no private contractors were used. For the upcoming year, 2367 of the beds are outside the University of Glasgow halls of residence. The University recently signed a contract with The Galenco and Lognmore Group, who own private halls of residence in Kelvingrove. The procurement of extra beds for the upcoming year cost the University £6.9 million. This is in addition to a further £26 million for a contract with Dutch-based company Vistant, who own the Colleglands residences in Merchant City. 

When asked how a shortfall would be mitigated the University stated that they: “anticipate that an increase in bed numbers will mitigate this risk. Applications will  be  closely  monitored  and,  if  required,  the  University  will  endeavour  to  acquire  additional spaces.” This potential need for extra beds beyond the 63% rise is despite an assurance that student numbers will not grow beyond the rate they did last academic year. 

The University refused to apologise for the housing crisis that ensued for the current academic year which saw students housed in Stirling, hotels and refused accommodation altogether if they lived within a commutable distance. 


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