Recent "The Guardian" Article on Accommodation shortages

Saturday 10th September 2022

‘Devastated’ UK students forced to live in neighbouring cities in university accommodation crisis

A surge in the number of 18-year-olds combined with a lack of housing and landlords switching to Airbnb create a perfect storm

  • When 18-year-old Jessie Smith netted the top grades she needed last month to study at Manchester University she was delighted. She didn’t know then that all the university’s student halls would be full, and she would be forced to accept accommodation in Liverpool.

  • Sarah Smith, Jessie’s mother, who works as a PA in Sheffield, said she feels “frightened and disgusted” about her daughter living so far from the university. Manchester has offered £100 a week to cover commuting costs, but she feels this “misses the point”. She doesn’t want her daughter to be a 40-minute train ride away from the city she signed up for.

    “There are all these fantastic activities in freshers’ week. I don’t want her worrying about how to get home afterwards,” she said. “University is about getting to know people and how can she do that if she’s not even in Manchester?”

    Smith is not alone. A week ago, Manchester confirmed it still had more than 350 freshers waiting for a place in halls in the city. Last week, after offering £2,500 to anyone within commuting distance who would switch to living at home, a spokesperson for the university said there were now 75 freshers still waiting for somewhere to live.

    He added that they were “prioritising working on more support” for students such as Jessie living in Liverpool, and would be linking them with a hall in Manchester. The university is rushing to finish refurbishing alternative accommodation, and says it is “very likely” that students will be able to move into the city in a few months.

    Down the road, Manchester Metropolitan University, whose halls are also oversubscribed, has offered £100 a week to first years willing to accept accommodation in Liverpool or Huddersfield.


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