University of Glasgow students could be forced to drop out less than a MONTH before term

·4-min read
University of Glasgow tells students they 'can't guarantee accommodation'
University of Glasgow tells students they 'can't guarantee accommodation'

Students are scrambling to find housing after the University of Glasgow told them less than a month before term starts that accommodation 'cannot be guaranteed'.

Students who had not received an official confirmation of university accommodation are now at risk of being forced to withdraw their place if they can’t find somewhere to live within reach of the campus.

The university has instantly disqualified any student that lives within a ‘reasonable commuting distance’ but those who live further away are at risk as well.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

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Leo Sobecki, 22, is from Poland and did her undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen.

She got a scholarship to do her masters at the University of Glasgow in software development, but feels she can no longer go because of the accommodation crisis.

She said: "I can’t imagine not studying there, I don’t have any plan B.

"I really hope the university will provide an option of studying online until we could find an accomodation, but worst case scenario would be just rejecting the offer."

She added: "I feel absolutely devastated and really worried about next year. I can’t believe I would miss out on a £5000 scholarship because there is no accommodation available for students.

"I’ve been looking for a flat since May, but everything was already fullly booked."

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

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Lynne Mackintosh, a mother from Edinburgh and University of Glasgow graduate, has been shocked that a lack of accommodation might stop her son from attending his first year of university.

She told the Glasgow Times how proud her family was of her son when he got his exam results on Tuesday but got an email at 5pm that night saying the accommodation could not be guaranteed.

She said: “Without accommodation at four weeks to go, he can’t go to university.

“We feel so stupid to have trusted the university when they said they’d guarantee a place for first years as we declined offers from other universities on the back of that.”

The university has said that it increased bedspaces for the new academic year, but the Students Representative Council (SRC) has said the problem lies in accepting too many new students.

Rinna Vare, president of the SRC, said: “After the accommodation crisis across Glasgow last year, the SRC lobbied the university to commit to a moratorium on student numbers and it was raised at several high-level meetings. Despite this, it now seems that over-recruitment has contributed to the creation of a similar situation.

“We will continue to work to encourage the university to take a stronger approach to managing student numbers and work to mitigate the impact of what is shaping up to be an ongoing issue with many contributing factors.”

She added that the university had yet to define “reasonable commuting distance” and were approaching the issue on a “case-by-case basis".

The university has said it will not be letting students study remotely until they find accommodation, and have strongly warned against students registering, enrolling, or travelling to Glasgow without a secured place to live.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “Regrettably, due to a significant contraction in the private rental market, demand for rooms continues to be substantially ahead of expectation and we are no longer in a position to provide guaranteed university accommodation.

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“Despite having increased the number of rooms under university management by 25% for the new academic year, we are having to prioritise accommodation for students who are unable to travel from home.

“We understand the concern students have about finding accommodation for the new semester.

“While we are unable to offer accommodation for students living within reasonable commuting distance, we will continue to check regularly on the availability of private provider accommodation and will share updates when we have them.

"For information and advice on finding private rented accommodation we encourage students to contact the Students’ Representative Council Advice Centre.”

Simon Thompson, managing director of private company Accommodation for Students, said: “We have seen very strong demand for student accommodation in Glasgow, and Glasgow is now the fourth biggest city in terms of the number of students enquiring for accommodation on our website, behind London, Manchester and Nottingham.

“This is significant growth over the past couple of years, where previously Glasgow would not have featured in the top 10.

“This reflects strong demand for studying in Glasgow, which is translating into strong demand for accommodation.

“It also reflects a change in the accommodation market as some students struggle to find accommodation, as there has been a reduction in the number of landlords letting their properties to students as a result of the introduction of the new private residential tenancy agreement which makes letting to students more complicated and limits the range of accommodation options available to them.”