University takes steps to avoid future accommodation debacles

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LUSU are in talks with the University to try to ensure that first-year students get equal access to campus accommodation. The talks are intended to ease the problems encountered at the start of the 2013/2014 academic year, when many first year students were refused on-campus accommodation.

One of the concessions made to LUSU by the University is that all first years who had to be housed off-campus this year shall get guaranteed on-campus accommodation next year should they want it. It is believed that the University will be able to house all new students on campus in the forthcoming year.

LUSU have also negotiated with the University on the rent prices in relation to Wi-Fi costs, and the cost of the removal of internal telephones not being covered by rent.

Lancaster University Accommodation Marketing & Communications Manager Andrew Gibson told SCAN that previous uncertainty surrounding new funding arrangements and how they might affect student numbers meant that the projected number of 2013/2014 first years was lower than usual. However, the University remained popular with students both through firm choice applicants and clearing students, meaning that there was not enough on-campus accommodation available for first years. A total of 91 students were accommodated off-campus; the University’s accommodation Office sought halls of residence for these students, enabling them to live in respective groups belonging to the same college, and providing a support package which included free bus passes and 40-week contracts as to ensure they were not financially disadvantaged.

On-campus accommodation prices have risen by 11.25% since 2011/2012, when the average cost of a room on campus was £4,000: this rose to £4,250 in 2012/2013, and currently averages at £4,450. Last year’s NUS survey placed Lancaster below the national average for University rent costs, with campus accommodation prices are due to rise again in the forthcoming year.

The University currently boasts the title of ‘Best University Halls’ in the National Student Housing Survey for the past four years since they began to participate in 2010, amongst various other awards such as ‘Best Individual Accommodation’ for Grizedale Townhouses (2011 and 2013) and Fylde College Residences (2012), and ‘International Accommodation Quality’, awarded consistently for the previous three years due to university accommodation achieving higher than 90% satisfaction from international students.

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