Students face spiralling costs of private student accommodation as University of Portsmouth vice-chancellor raises concerns

STRUGGLING students are working night shifts on top of their studies to pay for somewhere to live.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 8:41 am
Psychology student, Josephine Geoghegan, 20, said some of her friends have struggled with the cost of student accommodation.

The revelations come after the University of Portsmouth’s vice-chancellor, Professor Graham Galbraith, spoke of his concerns over the spiralling cost of student accommodation.

Prof Galbraith said one option could be for ‘government – local or national – to own student accommodation themselves or partner with universities to own it,’ he said in a comment piece posted on WonkHE.

According to Prof Galbraith, the average rent for student accommodation last year was 73 per cent of the maximum student maintenance support available.

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Private student halls, Catherine House, charge a minimum of £159 per week for self catering accommodation.

The private sector in the city charges more than the university.

Students in the city have told The News how they are working to make ends meet while also studying.

Second year paramedic student Gareth Woodley, 29, said: ‘Most shared houses range between £380 and £450 per month.

‘My accommodation takes up the bulk of my loan and I’m currently working night shifts at the hospital to make ends meet.

Vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, professor Graham Galbraith, is concerned at the rising cost of student accommodation. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘The government should provide financial support for students going into the NHS.’

Fellow paramedic student, Curtis White, 25, added: ‘I’ll leave university with at least £50,000 of debt and more than half will be due to accommodation costs.’

Both Curtis and Gareth pay £380 each for a room in the same shared house in Portsmouth.

The University of Portsmouth charges £96 per week for self catered rooms, or £169 fully catered, whereas private halls charge up to £225. The most recently built private halls, Crown Place in Station Street, charges a minimum of £155 per week for self-catered rooms.

Second year psychology student, Josephine Geoghegan, 20, said: ‘I was in university halls last year and paid £120 per week. It’s definitely much cheaper when compared to private accommodation but they do have better facilities.

‘Fortunately I had support from my family but some of my friends really struggle to meet the cost of accommodation.’

A university spokeswoman said: ‘The university is particularly keen to ensure we maintain an offer at the lower end of the rental ladder which are not usually available in private purpose built accommodation.’

It has a £1m fund available for students.