Are high rents stopping students doing a postgraduate degree?

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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High rents and the housing shortage in major urban areas has reached crisis levels. Unsurprising, this has disproportionally affected students. As well as a lack of available properties, rents have spiralled. Students returning to college have been couchsurfing with friends or stay in hostels. The housing crisis has made it impossible for some students to continue their degrees, and it seems likely that potential postgrad students have put further studies on hold because of the difficulty and expense of finding accommodation.

High price of student housing

The costs of privately-run accommodation for students have sharply increased, costing upwards of €230 a week for a room. In addition, reports suggest many landlords are simply unwilling to rent to students. Many of those that do engage in unscrupulous practices. These include overcrowding apartments and houses, demanding cash only rent “top-ups” or refusing to rent with contracts.

The Irish Times recently reported that many international postgrad students have been staying in tourist hostels because of a lack of accommodation. Tourist hostels cost around €40 a day. However, hostels have maximum stay rules. Many only allow guests to stay for two weeks. After this, students must move to a different hostel.

Government response

The number of international students doing postgrad degrees in Ireland has increased pressure on the availability of housing. However, it would be a mistake to blame the students themselves. The housing crisis has been a long time brewing and inaction at the government level has exacerbated this.

There is hope that that this will change soon. Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is keen to speed up construction in city-centre locations. He recently announced that measures around housing would be part of Budget 2018. He expects at least 20,000 new homes to be built next year.

Furthermore, earlier this year Minister for Education Richard Bruton launched a national student accommodation plan. This aims to increase the number of purpose built student housing beds by 7,000 by the end of 2019.

As welcome as these measures are, they may be too late for students hoping to continue their education over the 2017/2018 academic term.


Anne Sexton

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