13 September 2000 Edition

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Extra 10,000 students in private rented sector

Figures from a forthcoming Higher Education Authority report show an increase of over 10,000 in the number of university students living in flats and apartments in the 26 Counties.

In 1988/'99 there were 11,015 university students living in the private rented sector. In 1997/'98 this figure had increased to 21,430. There has also been a 6.5 per cent drop in the proportion of students living at home while attending university.

Julian de Spáinn, President of the Union of Students in Ireland, said these figures have again highlighted the need for direct government investment in on-campus student accommodation. ``These figures reveal a significant change in the living arrangements of students. More and more students are living away from home and entering the private rented sector,'' he explained. ``The 1990s saw increasing competition for third-level places and corresponding increases in the points required for courses. This had the effect of forcing more students to travel further from home to attend university. As a result, the number of university students in the private rented sector increased by almost 100 per cent.''

Despite Dublin government tax incentives, designed to encourage landlords to invest in student accomodation, de Spáinn says that the housing crisis for students is likely to remain. ``Even after the construction of these units, Ireland will still be far behind other European countries in terms of the proportion of students in on-campus accommodation. Urgent action is needed in this area.''

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