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The President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Laura Harmon, has warned this morning (Thursday) that a combination of a shortfall of purpose-built accommodation for students and the current state of the private rental sector will inevitably lead to students being forced to drop out of college.

The Union believes that Government intervention is now essential so that students can avail of homes conducive to study. Speaking ahead of a demonstration in Dublin’s Grafton Street on Thursday morning, Ms Harmon said:

“There is already growing evidence of students commuting daily to Dublin from extremely long distances. If you’re fortunate enough to find somewhere to live, the likelihood is that it’s costing significantly more, at a time when student finances are already past breaking point. Some opt to spend multiple nights sleeping on couches or in hostels every week, others aren’t even able to attain that. There is now a real danger that this will start to impact on retention rates and it requires immediate attention from Government.”

Harmon’s warning comes less than a month before CAO offers are set for release. Parents and prospective students are already facing difficulties, with all 3,000 purpose-built student beds in the city now booked out for the coming academic year.

USI is calling on government to urgently make provision for student accommodation in the capital and campus towns.

  • Rents across Ireland are rising, but rises are particularly pronounced in Dublin, where there is a 13% increase in on-campus rental prices.
  •  A report by the Higher Education Authority released earlier this week highlighted high levels of drop-outs, particularly from students reliant on the student grant.  Rental availability is known to be a key factor in drop-outs.
Laura Harmon, USI President, with Senator Aideen Hayden, in front of the Oireachtas.

USI President Laura Harmon met with Senator Aideen Hayden, who has raised the issue of student accommodation shortfall in the Senate. Photo for free distribution when used with story. Click for high res.

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