Letter: University students should live at home

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Sir: The article by Lesley Gerard "University students hit by surge in rents" (27 March) should cause no one surprise. The substantial increase in numbers studying at university inevitably puts a pressure of demand on housing when a large proportion will live away from home. The result of such an increase in demand is an increase in price. The current system of student maintenance grants encourages this.

If we wish as a society to see more students enjoying the privileges and benefits of higher education, we must recognise that this involves a price. It seems, not unreasonably, that the taxpayer is not prepared to pay this price, or has other priorities (such as nursery education). The alternative is to see whether it is possible to use the same amount of money as at present more effectively.

One way of doing this would be to encourage students to live at home, allowing money being spent on additional short-term student housing to be spent on the more central parts of the educational process. Alternatively, students might be able to borrow less.

Yours faithfully,

PETER WATSON

Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor

University of Buckingham

Buckingham

29 March

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