Housing chaos for new students

Hundreds of new students have been unable to find university accommodation because of the rush to beat the introduction of tuition fees next year.

The Government's decision to bring in a pounds 1,000 fee in September 1998, in tandem with the halving of the maintenance grant, has resulted in a record-breaking intake at universities around the country.

Last week, as the Education Secretary David Blunkett confirmed both moves in his speech to the Labour conference, many young people were being forced to spend their first week at university staying overnight on common room floors or in temporary bed and breakfast rooms.

The high number of students enrolling this year and next is also destined to increase maintenance bills. After 1999 these costs will no longer be able to rely on any standard government maintenance grant.

At Lancaster University the authorities were faced with 200 homeless first-years at the beginning of term.

Other universities with severe problems are:

Leicester, which initially had 70 students staying in hotels, 52 in student nurse housing and 160 sleeping in staff quarters or guest rooms; Oxford Brookes, with more than 100 still in B&B accommodation; and Exeter, where students are sleeping in common rooms.

More than 20,000 students went through the university clearing system this summer. Only a few opted to defer their studies until next year, when they would face tuition charges.

Exeter is one of a small group of universities that usually guarantees campus housing for first years, but last week it was heavily criticised for putting 120 new students in temporary housing.

University spokeswoman Nicola Pagett said: "We accepted 250 students through clearing, expecting that approximately 200 people with prior offers would defer. Because of the proposed introduction of tuition fees, only a handful did."

Freshers at Oxford Brookes University are angry. Peter Hill, the deputy president of the students union, said: "Five hundred first years, a fifth of the intake, were refused normal campus accommodation. About 300 found private lodgings; 88 students are doubled up in small rooms in a tower block, with building work going on around; 100 are in bed and breakfast which, with no catering facilities, will be more expensive than hall."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: International Trade Advisors - Hertfordshire or Essex

£30000 - £35379 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is based in Welwyn ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Controller - Response Centre

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Resource and Recruitment Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Resource and Recruitment Manage...

Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Support Technician

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn