A survey compiled by UCD Students’ Union has revealed that UCD campus student residences are the most expensive on-campus accommodation in the country.
The survey results reveal that campus residences in UCD are over eight per cent more expensive than their city centre Trinity equivalents, despite many places remaining unfilled.
Students in UCD can pay up to €5,324 for campus accommodation while their Trinity counterparts face a charge of €4,916. Students in NUI Maynooth pay €4,180 for campus residences while those in UCC cost €4,881 per year.
The survey also found that students living in Belgrove and Merville are paying approximately €452 a month for much more basic living conditions than those available off campus.
Many first year students have opted out of living on campus this year, choosing instead are finding cheaper accommodation elsewhere. As a result, on-campus accommodation has been undersubscribed, with UCD’s commercial office struggling to convince students of the merits of living on the Belfield campus.
While the university has not formally acknowledged that there are empty places remaining on the residences, a circular email was distributed to all students in early December informing them that rooms were still available in a number of campus complexes.
The UCD residences have seen their rents increased by between seven to nine per cent, despite the general drop in property prices over the last eighteen months. This increase makes UCD’s on-campus accommodation the most expensive in the country.
It has become standard practice in recent years for campus rents to be increased by between five and ten per cent annually, which had previously been in line with inflation in the property market. However, the most recently available CSO figures for property inflation suggests that prices fell by 28 per cent in the twelve months to August of this year.
Students have also expressed concerns that the current payment scheme, where they pay the full amount of their year’s rent in two equal instalments, is untenable given their current financial circumstances. The Students’ Union has pledged to lobby for this scheme to be abandoned in favour of more regularlised monthly payments.
The slow uptake of campus places has also put a strain on the university’s finances. Rent from campus residences is currently being used to fund construction on the new Roebuck 2 complex, due to be opened in September providing 113 new beds.
SU President Gary Redmond told The University Observer that “if the university doesn’t decrease its prices, the university will get itself into serious trouble,” and believes that “severe questions must be asked” over the current pricing structure for campus accommodation.