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UCD students stage tent protest against 'spiralling' cost of campus accommodation

Students are organising a large demonstration for next week.

Una Carroll and Joanna Siewierska at UCD this morning.
Una Carroll and Joanna Siewierska at UCD this morning.
Image: Garreth MacNamee

UCD STUDENTS TODAY launched a tent protest after it emerged rents at campus accommodation are to increase by 12% in the next three years. 

A number of students today pitched tents at the entrance to UCD to demonstrate against what they described as “ridiculous” increases at a time when students are already struggling with the daily cost of attending third level.

The students’ union is demanding the following: 

  • A reversal of the 12% increase to campus rents 
  • The establishment of a rental support scheme to support student renters
  • A commitment from management to engage much earlier with student representatives in conducting rent reviews and budget allocations for student support

For this academic year 2019/20, it costs between €6,745 and €11,591 in rent for the two semesters. Most students will be paying in excess of €7,000 to stay on campus. 

Even at the lowest end, that’s €749 a month, meaning that rents have risen 76% at UCD in the past decade. And it’s set to rise again. 

At Belgrove, this will rise to €7,948.47 by the 2022/23 academic year.

prices Prices for UCD accommodation.

President of the UCD Students’ Union, Joanna Siewierska, told TheJournal.ie how students are struggling to survive in college and that many of them have had to either return home or go to extreme measures to make sure they can continue their studies. 

She said: “Staff have been so good and students are behind us as well – a lot of staff have kids here so they know the reality of having to fork out extortionate costs.

“I have a feeling this action won’t stop it but we’re trying. The hike is coming from university management. They are arguing that new legislation under the Rental Tenancy Board [allows them to increase rent]. I’d like to stress that the 4% was a cap and not an invitation. Second is inflation of maintenance contracts. The third is securing the €500 million loan to build further residences. The residences bring in about €23 milion a year as it stands. 

“In the past UCD did subsidise accommodation and that’s what kept rents low. But at the moment it’s an agenda to increase these rents. 

“The campus rents in UCD have increased by 76% over the last decade. As the UCD Students’ Union, we will not agree to the status quo on this issue. These rent increases are locking young people out of access to higher education and must be reversed immediately.”

Students at UCD are preparing for a large scale demonstration next week.

With reporting by Sean Murray

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