University of Limerick (UL) students who left their accommodation on foot of the Government’s decision to close campuses should be refunded, the university’s governing authority has recommended.
The UL governing authority has recommended that UL subsidiary Plassey Campus Centre Ltd (PCC), which manages its on-campus student residences, refund the affected students.
The university has come under increased pressure in recent weeks to refund rent paid by students who vacated campus accommodation due to the coronavirus.
Education Minister Joe McHugh also waded into the row, contacting UL Chancellor Mary Harney to discuss the matter.
At a special meeting held this Tuesday, the governing authority discussed refunding students’ rent.
As PCC is a separate legal entity to the university, the decision is a matter for PCC, a spokesman for UL said in a statement.
However, PCC has sought the views of the governing authority on the matter.
UL is the only university in Ireland that has not refunded students who left campus accommodation early.
As with all university accommodation, students in Limerick paid for the full term up-front.
The university has responded quickly to the Covid-19 crisis, the spokesman said, adding that it has provided residential support to more than 700 students who chose to remain on campus during the lockdown.
“The university sector was experiencing a funding crisis before COVID-19 and UL, like the other universities, is now facing extraordinary financial challenges.
"Losing summer and foreign student income will bring huge deficits and government support for the Higher Education sector will be needed so UL can play its part in any economic recovery.”