Is there a connection between luxury student accommodation and high levels of debt?

The rooms at Urbanest in King's Cross have under-floor heating, study space with 50mb broadband, and kitchens with first-class appliances

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The Independent Online

I have every sympathy with students who face leaving university thousands of pounds in debt with unfavourable job prospects. According to a report by Lloyds bank, this year's freshers can expect to graduate £30,000 in the red. Yet I can't help but notice that the student experience seems to have changed since my own undergraduate days 20-odd years ago. Back then, my parents waved me off to a freezing, rodent-infested hovel in Coventry that I shared with three other students and where it was common practice to use Deep Heat spray as an alternative to putting on the heating.

Doing our washing involved a trip to the launderette, where we lived in hope of bumping into Nick Kamen stripping off his Levis. I had to walk to the phone box if I wanted to call my parents – and if they wanted to call me urgently ... well, they couldn't.

Oh, but how times have changed. Today it seems the norm for students to live in en suite rooms in luxury blocks a stone's throw from the lecture theatre.


Take Urbanest in King's Cross, north London, for example. The rooms have under-floor heating, study space with 50mb broadband, and, depending on which room you choose, either a private or a shared kitchen with first-class appliances. Studio flats, which start at £399 a week (yes, £399 a week) have a luxury en suite bathroom.

Before you can say, "Yes, but that's in London", I'd point out that it's a similar story further north. In Leeds, Iconinc offers luxury student accommodation from £140 to £190 a week including bills. For that, you get a double bed, flat-screen TV and 100mb broadband. There's a 24-hour concierge, gym, cinema and "games zone" on site.

Is it just me who thinks that the current trend for students to live in luxury, and then the high levels of debt, might just be connected?

Twitter: @emmalunn

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