The cost of living on campus has risen by 4% for the 2018-2019 academic year. Incoming first years and returning students choosing to stay in halls could be paying up to £249 extra rent compared to 2017.
One student, when asked their opinion on the matter said ‘I personally can’t understand why the prices have increased. Moving back onto campus was always going to be an option for me for third year but I’m going to rethink now that I know I could be living elsewhere for a much cheaper price.’
News about the increase in rent was broken in November of last year and was followed by widespread mass discontent. The Students’ Union launched a campaign to counter the changes, promoted with the social media tag #paymoregetless. This was alongside a stall set up in Alexandra Square, which gave out £249 worth of pasta to students as a way of demonstrating what could be bought with the money students will lose as a result of the rent increase. To emphasise the significance of the 4% price increase, the union argued that the £249 could also pay for return flights to Egypt, 148 VKs at The Sugarhouse and 44 hours at work (for those on the 18-20 minimum wage.)
Superior en-suite accommodation in County College will now set back students from £136.01 to £144.97 per week in comparison to approximately £131 per week in the 2017-2018 academic year. Those choosing to live in a Grizedale Townhouse will see their fees rise from £119 to £124 per week, and Bowland’s Basic Standard rooms will become the only on-campus accommodation with a weekly rent lower than £100.
As this issue will largely affect incoming students just about to begin their degree, SCAN asked a number of different incoming students what the increase in rent would mean for them. One first-year student said, ‘For me, the rise in the price of accommodation affects me greatly due to the fact that it means I am left with less student loan to live off. It also means I’ll have to get a job, meaning I’ll have less time to focus on my studies which could affect my performance at university.’
Another mentioned the fact that the accommodation is expensive in comparison to other universities they considered: ‘Money all adds up and it’s already a struggle to pay for everything to be able to live comfortably at uni so it makes it extra difficult to be able to afford essentials. I think the accommodation is quite overpriced in comparison to some other uni’s especially considering it’s not a big city. I’m obviously willing to pay it though because all the accommodation is quite modern at Lancaster and it is worth it.’
SCAN contacted the University for a comment on the issue, who called the rise in the cost of living on campus ‘necessary’ to maintain quality accommodation.
‘In order to maintain the quality expected by our students, we need to continually reinvest in the buildings themselves and also the numerous services they require – ranging from portering and security to cleaning and utility costs. These costs have been rising and it has been necessary to bring about an increase in student rent to reflect that cost. Each year, the University works with the Union to decide if the rent differentials need to be adjusted and we aim to provide a range of rooms that offer a variety of costs and room types. Rent at Lancaster University remains lower than similar accommodation offered at other comparator universities and in private halls.’