Durham University increases college accommodation costs by 6.3%

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Durham University has announced that its accommodation will rise by 6.3% for this academic year. 

This means that those who have a standard catered College room, with a shared bathroom, will have to pay £9,745. That means, if a student receives the full Student Maintenance Loan in England, they would only have £233 left for the academic year. This is based on the 2023/2024 student Maintenance Loan as the 2024/2025 figures has yet to be announced.

For UK home students, those who receive the maximum Maintenance Loan will also be a recipient of the Durham Grant, which has increased by 6.7% for next year, above the increase in accommodation costs. 

However, over 3,000 students receive the Durham Grant, with over 1,600 receiving the full amount. 

The maximum amount of maintenance loan a student who is not eligible for the Durham Grant can receive in the 2023/2024 academic year is £6,812, which would just cover the cost of a standard self-catered room, which costs £6,805.50 per year. This is not based on the 2024/20245 maintenance loan figures which are yet to be released.

Durham University do offer shorter and term only let contracts at some colleges. These are University College, Hatfield, Collingwood and Grey Colleges, which decreases the cost to £8,655. However these contacts are not available on demand and are only available to a limited number of beds. 

A self-catered room now costs £6,805.50 for a standard 39-week let with shared bathroom facilities. An ensuite room costs £624 more at £7,429.50.

University-owned accommodation is almost double what the average student is expected to spend on rent: Save the Student estimated in February 2023 that the average student spends £535 on rent every month, which comes to approximately £133.75 each week. A standard self-catered room at Durham University are charged on average £40.75 more a week. For an ensuite self-catered room, which all rooms at Josephine Butler College are, the University charges £56.75 more a week.

A standard catered room with a shared bathroom will now cost £9,745 in 2024/25

The price for a standard catered room has increased by £3456.60 in the past decade – a 55% increase in price since 2014/15.

This is well above inflation; the Bank of England estimates that prices have increased by 32% since 2015 according to their inflation calculator. 

In communication with Palatinate, the University claimed that the increase in College Accomodation was well below the average private rent increases which they calculated to be around 10-15% this year. 

According to Durham University’s calculations, the University is responsible for 38% of accommodation options in DH1, and it plans to increase this to 45% by 2027. 

Part of the rise sees a weekly catering charge of £98 per week, with a cost of £4.67 per meal

Part of the rise sees a weekly catering charge of £98 for the 30 weeks of term, with a cost of £4.67 per meal. In 2022/23, the cost was £3.95 per meal.

Save the Student, an online site for impartial advice to students on how to spend their money, estimated that, on average, students living in non-catered accommodation spend around £31 a week on groceries – Durham University charges three times this.

It should be noted that the cost of meals in University owned catered accommodation does include staff costs associated with the production of those meals. 

Nine out of Durham’s seventeen undergraduate colleges do not offer a self-catered option for students, which means that students allocated to these colleges have no choice but to pay the £2,940 catering fee.

Recently, Palatinate reported that, despite the increase in catering costs, there had been cuts in food variety and quantity this academic year, including desserts being moved from daily to once a week, and sandwich options being removed at lunches.

For the past decade, issues surrounding accommodation costs have been consistently present in Durham: in 2015, Durham students protested outside the Bill Bryson library, calling for a freeze on accommodation costs after an 8% increase was announced for 2015/16. In 2017, the Students’ Union launched their Ripped-Off campaign, protesting against the rise of accommodation costs above the rise of inflation.

Save The Student’s analysis is available here: https://www.savethestudent.org

Image: Maddie Flisher

One thought on “Durham University increases college accommodation costs by 6.3%

  • Why not have more halls of residence where prices can be monitored instead of using homo accommodation in which only the private landlords get rich and the city and surrounding areas have little or no housing left for families or people working in Durham . Whole swathes of the city are wastelands only occupied for part of the year with the city dying .

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