Revealed: Irish university accommodation among most-expensive in EU and UK

Revealed: Irish university accommodation among most-expensive in EU and UK

University College Dublin was one of the most-expensive universities in the study.

The development of purpose-built student apartments is driving higher rents and lowering space and accommodation standards at Ireland’s universities, new research has found. 

A report, conducted by researchers at NUI Galway, found the average cost for the cheapest room in Irish university accommodation is considerably higher than in the UK and EU.

The research also noted that the high cost of purpose-built student accommodation is now of "major concern" to student unions and prospective students and that it often acts as a barrier to full participation from potential students, including those with disabilities, and some international students.

Costs for a single bedroom with a shared bathroom at Irish universities ranged from €132.38 per week (€4,398 for the 37-week academic year) at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, to €181.86 per week (€6,728.99 per year) at University College Dublin (UCD).

At Dublin City University (DCU), Trinity College, NUI Galway, and UCC, the weekly rate for this type of accommodation was €157, €169, €146, and €152, respectively.

Dublin City University. Picture: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin
Dublin City University. Picture: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

In Northern Ireland, Queen's University Belfast charges approximately €130.14 per week for a similar type of room while the University of Ulster charges €113.58 per week.

In the rest of the UK too, average prices were found to be lower than here, with the University of Aberdeen charging €106.48 per week, and the University of Manchester charging €128.96 per week.

In Europe, costs were found to be lower still.

At the University of Southern Denmark, a single bedroom with a shared bathroom costs €104.48, at the University of Lisbon in Portugal it cost €100, and at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, it cost €91.

German universities had the cheapest rooms by far with the Universities of Mannheim and Hamburg charging just €60 and €81.75 respectively.

Overall, of the 10 most-expensive universities included in the study, six – UCD, Trinity College, DCU, UCC, NUI Galway, and UL – were Irish.

University College Cork. Picture:  Des Barry
University College Cork. Picture:  Des Barry

The most-expensive university included in the study, and the only one to cost more than Dublin, was the University of London, which was charging its student €197.43 per week.

The report found that single occupancy rooms make up less than half the accommodation provided by Irish universities, with shared occupancy rooms most common in NUI Galway and UCC.

Professor at NUI Galway's Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy, and one of the report’s authors, Padraic Kenna, said he was surprised to find that Irish universities were charging so much for purpose-built student accommodation.

"These could rise even further due to current development costs," he said.

Without a capital subsidy to the university providers, it will be increasingly difficult to provide affordable new student accommodation. 

"With that in mind, our report recommends the establishment of Student Housing Associations (Approved Housing Bodies) to provide affordable student accommodation."

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