Taxpayers are subsidizing universities to build 4,500 student rooms on condition that rents are reduced

In the next few years, the taxpayer will subsidize 4,500 student residences in return for lower rents for students.

The state will step in to help colleges build additional on-campus dormitories across the country to help students struggling to pay rent.

In return, the universities have to lower rents.

Depending on how quickly the building permit can be granted, construction can begin as early as next year.

The government hopes this significant move will free up houses near universities, which are most commonly rented by students, to families.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, will shortly present the proposals to the government after intensive cooperation with universities across the country.

Technological universities can also raise funds to build additional student housing.

The funding only applies to publicly funded universities and only if there is an agreement that the state will subsidize housing for students in exchange for cheaper rents.

Government funding will help bridge the gap between the viability of providing purpose-built student housing and the subsequent affordability of student rent.

Colleges have told Mr Harris they are willing to build 4,500 beds with government support.

Although it is still unclear how much taxpayer money will be needed for the additional accommodation, the figures are likely to be in the hundreds of millions of euros.

More than 20 meetings have taken place between his department and the Housing Department on the plans since September last year, and Mr. Harris also met with college presidents in June.

It comes as a further 1,200 student beds will be made available in the coming academic year.

Mr Harris last February called on all universities to provide additional space for students – for example by repurposing existing buildings.

It is understood that although some rooms have been identified, these were currently used to house displaced Ukrainians.

Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University of Limerick and NUI Galway will provide additional student accommodation this academic year.

There will also be a small increase in places at Maynooth University and Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.

Figures from a recent Eurostudent survey show that 40 percent of students live with their parents, 18 percent in purpose-built student accommodation and 42 percent in neither.

As of last December, there were about 14,500 student residences owned by higher education institutions.

“Currently we have students competing with families for homes, particularly in cities,” Mr Harris said.

“I want to radically change and improve that. Therefore, we want and need more housing on campus, especially in our regions.

“But we also have to be affordable for people. There is no point in building shelters that people cannot access or that are only accessible to some people.

“With this new proposal, for the first time ever, the state will intervene directly and help build student housing. In return, we ensure lower rents for students.

“I strongly believe that building more college-owned housing on campus has two benefits — helping students and families, and increasing the overall housing supply.”

A recent study by NUI Galway found that rising rent costs are one of the main barriers to accessing higher education.

The student accommodation offered by Irish universities is relatively expensive compared to universities in Northern Ireland and other European cities.

The average cost of the cheapest room in Irish university accommodation is €5,451 for the academic year, while in the UK it is €5,025 – a difference of €426.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/going-to-college/taxpayer-to-subsidise-universities-to-build-4500-student-bedrooms-with-the-condition-rents-are-lowered-41894844.html Taxpayers are subsidizing universities to build 4,500 student rooms on condition that rents are reduced

Fry Electronics Team

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