By Tom Mitchell
Undergraduate accommodation fees will rise by 2.9% to £7,894 for the 2020/21 academic year, the University has announced in an email to students this morning.
The cost of a single standard catered room will increase from £7,672 to £7,894, while a catered en-suite will now cost £8,385. The average student loan is £6,108.
The average student loan is £6,108
Self-catered standard rooms will increase from £5,370 to £5,526, and self-catered en-suites from £5,846 to £6,016.
The University says that the price increase has been calculated via the Retail Price Index, a “standard rate of inflation”. Since 2011, typical accommodation costs have increased from under £5,000 to nearly £8,000.
The Durham Students’ Union has previously requested a freeze in undergraduate accommodation fees, and that the University uses the Consumer Price Index to calculate cost increases.
Kate McIntosh, DSU President, said to Palatinate: “People aren’t surprised anymore when accommodation fees rise – we don’t expect our university to put student concerns about high costs above profit margins.
But next year, for the umpteenth time, countless deserving students will choose not to come Durham because of the high fees, and countless more will fall ill, take on precarious work, or suffer academically trying to pay them.
It is not good enough, and we are going to do something about it. I’ve got the University to kick-start a review of accommodation fees, and this term we’re going to set out a better, fairer system.”
Just 12.4% of Durham students agree the institution offers good value for money
In October 2019, the University said they don’t hold information on the percentage of accommodation fees that are spent on building refurbishments and improvements.
Durham University Labour Club (DULC) told Palatinate: “Though we do not know exactly what the fee revenue is being spent on, it is clearly not being spent on those members of staff who are employed for low pay, or who found themselves laid off by last year’s ‘Operations Review’.”
“What is needed at Durham is a rent freeze, and nothing less. DULC unequivocally opposes this bare-faced price gouging by the University.”
Jeremy Cook OBE (Pro-Vice Chancellor Colleges and Student Experience) told Palatinate: “these charges cover much more than just accommodation. As well as operating and maintaining residential facilities, fees fund dedicated staff and provide communal spaces for social events and wellbeing.
It is not good enoughKate McIntosh, Durham Students’ Union President
“In the case of fully-catered Colleges, fees also provide students with 21 hot meals a week and subsidised College social, cultural, and recreational events.
“We know some of our students face real financial pressures and we offer a bursary scheme, known as the Durham Grant Scheme (DGS). The DGS is based on household income and is available to undergraduates – throughout their course – who are Home Students, studying their first degree.”
Image by Maddie Flisher