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Students face deferring, dropping out, couch surfing or living in hostels

Students’ Unions across Ireland are supporting thousands of students who cannot get a place to live for the new academic year, with the student accommodation crisis “worse than ever,” according to the Union of Students in Ireland.

Many Students’ Unions are reporting to USI that they are working with hundreds of students who feel they have nowhere left to go in their search for accommodation this year.

USI and students across Ireland are outraged at the Government’s inability to tackle the housing crisis, which is having a huge impact on many students’ ability to access third-level education.

One Students’ Union reported to USI that it has been receiving over 100 requests a day for help on its dedicated student accommodation Facebook page, while most SUs have received hundreds of phone calls and emails over the last few weeks.

USI President, Clare Austick is calling for urgent action from Government and higher education institutions to immediately support those students who feel they have no choice but to drop-out or defer their place as they live too far away from their universities and colleges to commute.

Clare said: “There are thousands of students across the Island who cannot find accommodation. With waiting lists of up to 200 plus people, students are exploring the option of staying in B&Bs, hostels and hotels. There just isn’t enough purpose-built student accommodation to meet the needs of students wanting to attend third level education in Ireland today. A lot of the accommodation that was built as student accommodation is now being used to house people who are not students, leaving students being pushed out of accommodation that was specifically built for them. The situation is so bad that some students are even considering deferring the year or dropping out of college.

“We talk about the barriers blocking access to education, but many students now physically cannot access education because they don’t have a place to stay. The housing crisis has continuously worsened over the last decade with the Government failing to relieve the stress and pressure of the housing situation on the next generation. It really isn’t good enough, we need to see urgent, effective and long-term action now.”