Private landlords in Limerick say they will not refund student rents until University of Limerick does the same.
The third-level institution says the on-campus accommodation has remained open at the facility, with 600 out of around 2,800 beds filled.
However, they are not refunding pre-paid rents to students due to operating costs.
Jack Scanlon, UL's students union president, says the issue has gone beyond the college now.
Mr Scanlon said: "Private renters in Limerick who are renting to students are saying that they are not issuing any refunds until such time as the university does so.
"While this will directly affect the students living on campus it has a much broader affect on students living in private rented accommodation."
Sinn Fein's Eoin O'Broin says, even though universities do have money issues, they should not be putting the burden on students.
He said: "The universities are in a difficult position in that they are not-for-profits, so any rent they lose during term time is a deficit on their accounts. In fact some universities like DCU use their short-term letting tourist income to keep their student rents lower.
"What I would think is that the universities should work together through the Irish Universities Association, engage with Government to fix a problem.
"Don't do what Limerick is doing in placing the burden of filling that deficit with students."