The Glasgow Guardian speaks to students still unable to secure accommodation at the beginning of the academic year.
As the academic year begins, students are still struggling to find accommodation. The housing crisis has steadily worsened over the last few years, all while the University refuses to commit to a cap on student numbers or apologise for the housing crisis.
The beginning of the last academic year saw freshers being housed in Paisley and even in student accommodation located as far away as Stirling. As the academic year progressed, students who were still unable to find accommodation were charged £160 per week for temporary accommodation in hotels, which were criticised for having inadequate facilities and being unsuitable for long-term accommodation.
Data obtained by The Glasgow Guardian via a freedom of information request has revealed that the University has increased its stock of University owned undergraduate beds by around 12.5%. However, this comes just months after the University made the decision to raise rents in their accommodation by nearly 10%, a move criticised by the SRC for being an unnecessarily “shocking imposition” given that the University was operating in a financial surplus.
The Glasgow Guardian spoke to one incoming first-year student still unable to find suitable accommodation. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, was offered a place in student halls but had to turn it down because it was too expensive: “I suppose I was lucky in the sense that I applied early and was offered undergraduate accommodation, but the options I were given were on the higher end of the price spectrum. In order to move in I would have had to make a £600 prepayment, and then going forward all of my SAAS payments would have went on accommodation, so I simply cannot afford it.
“I am currently living in Edinburgh so it is difficult to go to viewings for flats in Glasgow so that I can get something to move into. It seems unlikely that I will find something before freshers week and if I still can’t find something after term begins I might have to think about deferring. I think that this shows that money is still unfortunately a barrier to university.”
Last year, after they withdrew the guarantee of accommodation for all first-year students, the University advised students who had not secured accommodation for the coming year to not enrol.
Another student, Daniel, who is going into third year, told The Glasgow Guardian that he received an eviction notice from his flat in Hillhead at the end of July informing him that he had to move out by 4 September in order for refurbishments to be carried out after the council discovered dry-rot.
“So after paying for our flat for the whole of summer, despite moving home, we are left with just a month to find a new flat before all of our stuff would have to be moved out from the old one.”
A spokesperson for the University told The Glasgow Guardian: “The University does expect newly procured accommodation to be enough. The University has worked hard to increase the number of rooms under University management by 67% to ensure the guarantee of accommodation for all first year Undergraduates this year.”
When approached for comment on the University’s role in the ongoing housing crisis in Glasgow, the University responded that we would “have to ask the city council and Scottish Government about the lack of housing in Glasgow and Scotland.”