Students are “locked out” of education as UCD are charging a “gobsmacking” fee of €14,000 for on-campus accommodation for the next academic year.
The college has released details of its on-site accommodation for the 2021/22 academic year, with options ranging from €8,059 to €14,465 for those looking to rent for the academic year.
UCD Student Union President Ruairí Power believes that the university is purposely targeting international students by developing these expensive fees.
He told Dublin Live: “I think it’s actually damaging to the university’s reputation. The university management has no consideration for affordability when it comes to building accommodation.
“The reason why UCD feel the need to charge such extensive prices is because they’re catering predominantly to wealthy international students and they’re used as cash cows to make up for the lack of funding for higher education.
“Essentially, working class students or anyone with a lower background are being completely locked out of studying in UCD.
“Students who are living outside of Dublin are facing massive, massive issues in terms of access to education.”
Mr Power spoke of the campus accommodation plans for the next few years.
He explained: “You’re talking about people spending €7,000 each to share a room for nine months.
“People will have to seek accommodation off campus which will be very low quality and really expensive. It’s a lose, lose situation for anyone coming from low income backgrounds.
“There needs to be input from the government, Simon Harris and Darragh O’Brien to ensure that they tackle the issue around South Dublin, for those staying off campus.
“And there needs to be a conversation about house subsidies because of on-campus accommodation.
“If people can’t afford the cost of accommodation, they can’t afford to come to college in UCD, it’s as simple as that.”
Students are expected to pay €203 per week at the campus’s two cheapest halls.
This year’s prices are a drastic increase compared to the current academic year as fees were reduced to just under €6,800 due to the pandemic.
Kellie Horan, a genetics student plans to live on-campus during the 2021/22 academic year but she told Dublin Live that she was “gobsmacked” by the accommodation prices.
The Waterford woman told Dublin Live: “I really think increasing the prices is shameful. For many of my friends living on campus, or in Dublin in general, wasn’t affordable – even before the increases.
“It really serves to make UCD elitist where only people living in Dublin already, or those with rich parents can afford to go.
“The new accommodation is clearly catered toward international students which are being treated like cash cows, as universities continue to be chronically underfunded.
“I personally don’t know one person who could afford the extortionate prices. I was gobsmacked when I saw the new prices!
“I’m planning on living on campus next year for my final year. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford accommodation like Merville and Ashfield – even though it had increased substantially since I was in first year.
“To be honest, this is really down to the fact that I’m an only child and my parents don’t have another two or three children to put through college. If I had siblings, Dublin would have been completely off the cards for me
“With Waterford lacking a university, this would have meant not getting a university degree at all!
“I really really do hope that a rent freeze could be implemented, as so many students are suffering under immense financial pressure.
“No one should be locked out of third level education because of extortionate rents and it’s awful that it’s happening.”
When contacted for comment on the upcoming accommodation fees, a representative from UCD Residences told Dublin Live: “All relevant information when it comes to pricing can be found here.”
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