Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2007

Student accommodation

Another profit-making racket

THE NATIONAL Union of Students' (NUS) recent survey of student accommodation costs shows that roughly a quarter of students live in university halls or purpose-built accommodation from corporate providers. Halls traditionally helped first-year students in particular leave home and set up at university.

Holly Eaton

The report says more universities are entering into partnership arrangements with private providers to provide student accommodation, rather than supplying it directly themselves. The NUS estimates that by 2010 private providers and PFI schemes will account for over 50% of halls of residence.

This shift has led to the average rent for a room going up by 23% since 2003/04 - well above the increase in the retail price index and more than three times the increase in student loans over the same period.

There is also a widespread use of booking fees, averaging 115 per application, for students applying for a room in halls. The NUS estimates that 8 million is charged to students via booking fees.

These increased charges go hand-in-hand with a growth in 'luxury' en-suite accommodation and studio flats, mainly provided by private companies. The headline rent levels often look similar to those charged by educational establishments, but add-on charges for services such as broadband internet, energy costs and gym membership, take the overall charges significantly above the rent levels charged by universities.

Average private-provider rents are 18% more expensive than those charged by educational institutions. Some private providers surveyed made it clear that they are catering for the top end of the market and have no desire to provide more affordable, shared accommodation. This increases 'choice' at the top end of the market but by reducing choice at the bottom end.

Many students who apply for places in halls of residence are living away from home for the first time, are on a limited budget and face increasing debts.

There is evidence that many poorer students decide not to go to university because of the burden of tuition fees.

Of those who go to university, many remain living at home as they would otherwise be forced to pay high accommodation costs. Overall, about a fifth of students live with their parents, but amongst working-class students the figure increases to about a third.

The NUS points to a trend for poorer students to choose courses and universities based on their ability to commute from home, rather than on the course itself, skewing the skills and qualifications working-class students can acquire.

There is an obvious need for a range of accommodation, not just luxury flats for students from wealthy homes.

Privatised student halls will not provide for those on lower incomes. Whether for students or anyone else, the interests of private housing providers lie in maximising their profits. Instead of lining the pockets of a few, we need decent housing with affordable rents for all.

We say:

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 22 February 2007:

Bush & Blair: Get out of Iraq

Iraq 'surge' doomed to failure

Italy: Thousands march against US military base

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

No to Trident!

North Korea: Talks achieve new accord

Anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist? Read the socialist!

Socialist Students

Students can defeat fees

Another profit-making racket

Living in debt - with no advice

Defend further education

Socialist Party Congress

The politics of socialism

Socialist Party news and analysis

Justice for the Shrewsbury pickets

Children at the sharp end of British capitalism

Banking billionaires

Drug companies squeeze profits out of health

Hospitals crisis worsens

Fighting homophobia


Climate change - we have to act now

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

CWI world congress: How will new workers' parties be built?

Workplace news and analysis

Valentine's day protest

Unique Care workers plan more protests

Israeli postal workers storm trade union HQ


Home   |   The Socialist 22 February 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleTories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect

triangleTory cladding money will not make us safe

trianglePlymouth rent strike continues

triangleRefund the rent, cancel the fees, for fully funded, publicly owned education

triangleRent strikers' victory in student halls


triangleTories target universities in free speech shakedown

triangleSocialist Students conference - postering

triangleStrike back for free education

triangleConference - Sunday 28 February


triangleHow students can fight and win

triangleLincoln Uni NUS disaffiliation: a question of on-campus democracy

triangle'Reforms' hollow out the NUS


triangleFees frozen at 9,250 a year, fight for free education

triangleScrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant


triangleSwarming the London Mayor's question time


triangleWhy you should come to Socialist Students online conference

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



President of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee


South Wales

Justice for Moyied Bashir



Tories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect



London bus dispute against low pay, pay cuts and longer hours


HM Revenue and Customs

HMRC: Divisive pay deal leads to expulsions


Socialist Students

Socialist Students conference - postering



W. Sussex children's centres on the chopping block


British Gas

GMB members continue fight against 'fire and rehire' in British Gas



Liverpool Unite branch supports 'no cuts' budget strategy



Scottish TUSC election campaign launch



Coventry success building subscriptions



Save John Carroll Leisure Centre



Keep the fighting fund rushing in for a TUSC stand in May



Tories target universities in free speech shakedown



"I'm here to fight for the future education of children in Hackney"

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

February 2021

January 2021