The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Brexit rush causes university to have shortage of accommodation

The University of Warwick has a shortage of accommodation for postgraduates and freshers, as they experience a rush of EU students pre-Brexit

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Students at the University of Warwick are being forced to share single bedrooms or to stay in hotels after an accommodation shortage was sparked by the rush of EU students enrolling pre-Brexit.

Around 120 freshers have been forced to share rooms, and 150 postgraduate students have been placed in hotels for this term. The Students’ Union have argued that this move proves the university puts money before student welfare. Reportedly, students have been told they can have their own rooms once there are drop outs.

University of Warwick Students’ Union has said that the situation “demonstrates the dangers of a marketised education system whereby student welfare is traded off against money in the bank”. A university spokesperson speaking to The Independent claimed Brexit was one of the causes of the shortage. Unexpected numbers of EU students have accepted places at the university in order to get into a British university before the UK leaves the EU.

Students form the EU can currently study in the UK at the same price as UK students, however this could change post-Brexit, causing a rush for places this year. Peter Dunn, director of press and policy at Warwick, said Brexit had introduced “a great degree of uncertainty to student recruitment”.

“We expected the number of non-British EU students to fall after the referendum,” he said, “but what actually happened was the number of acceptances increased.”

On top of this, an unprecedented number of students have chosen to go to university this year, due to fears about the potential hike in fees next year. Many freshers have taken to a Facebook group to complain about the current situation.

Sarah McHugh, a first-year undergraduate student from Preston, who has been placed in a shared single room in the Westwood student halls, said: “If I am to be completely honest, I’m really not happy about having to share a room,” she said. “I will have no privacy and the room is only a single so it will be really claustrophobic. I’m nervous to start now.”

Kieran O’Shea, another student said: “I’m not exactly keen, being someone who likes to have their own private space, also the fact of whether or not I’ll like this person and what they’ll be like. It’ll be a bit weird having to share my entire lifestyle with a complete stranger… it has made me have some extra concerns consequently dampening excitement about starting university.”

Warwick Students’ Union released a statement on their website in which they acknowledge the “severe lack of accommodation due to over-recruitment by the university.” The Union’s postgraduate officer, Nat Panda, stated that this is the fourth consecutive year that postgraduates had been left without sufficient accommodation, which he put down to “mismanagement by the university”.

He added: “Every year, we are given assurances that it won’t happen again—and then, 12 months down the line, the situation invariably worsens.

“There are students who applied for their courses in the spring—and accommodation as early as May—who are now hearing that they are not being offered any permanent accommodation just a week before they are due to arrive.”

A University of Warwick spokesperson said: “UK postgraduate student recruitment has always contained a significant degree of uncertainty, but this year the university has seen a significantly higher number of people meeting and accepting of offers to study or research at postgraduate level.

“We currently have 154 postgraduate students in hotels. Of those 154 we can already offer 60 rooms, leaving 94 students who will all be found accommodation, either on campus or through the private sector.

“There were 120 undergraduate students doubled up in large single rooms, which is fewer than in previous years. That figure has already dropped from 60 sharing rooms to 50.

“The University of Warwick has pledged £90m towards building more accommodation for students on campus, including 267 more rooms for next year.”