"Accommodation Crisis" Hits Ireland Universities As Dorm Costs Spike

An Irish Independent survey revealed student accommodation costs (dorm costs) had jumped as much as 11.55% YoY for all university-owned and on-campus accommodations in Ireland, which has led to financial stresses for parents and left millennials with student debt.

The Independent is describing this as an "accommodation crisis" as all of the country's universities have increased housing costs so dramatically, it has priced out impoverished students from higher education.

Experts warn that the student accommodation crisis hasn't peaked and could deepen into the early 2020s.

The survey found accommodation costs at University College Cork (UCC) increased the most, with prices for its Mardyke Hall accommodation soaring 11.5% for upcoming 2019/2020 academic year.

Students must pay at least $6,800, compared to $6,100 last year, to live in one of UCC's small dorm rooms for the new year.

UCC's University Hall dorm costs saw the second-highest price spikes in the country, with an 11.3% increase for a room.

Last year, students paid $6,200 to live in University Hall, but now it costs $6,900.

A spokesperson for the university told the Independent in a statement that the rise in accommodation costs was primarily due to "refurbishment works" at on-campus student housing facilities.

Social policy lecturer at Maynooth University Rory Hearne suggested that rising accommodation costs are due universities using it as a funding source.

"The crisis can only get worse. Students are now being squeezed even more because previously they would have relied heavily on the rental sector, but now that most people can't afford homes and there is little social housing, students have nowhere to go," he told the Independent.

"Colleges don't have enough funding and college accommodation is an income source. But students shouldn't have to pay for that - colleges should stand up to the Government and demand more funding."

The National Union of Students in Ireland (USI) criticized universities for developing the accommodation crisis.

"Student accommodation prices country-wide have taken a sinister hike towards unaffordability in the past few years, this past year in particular," said USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick.

Elsewhere, student accommodation climbed higher at the University of Limerick (UL), by 6.2%.

For a small room in an eight-bedroom dwelling in UL's Kilmurry housing complex, students are being charged 6% higher at $5900, as opposed to last year's $5,600. Students who rent at Plassey on UL's campus will notice a 6.2% jump, from $5,000 to $5,300 this upcoming academic year.

A UL spokesperson said accommodation costs are higher thanks to modernization efforts at the dormitories.

"There has also been a capital refurbishment programme of €20m implemented over the last four years in UL's on-campus accommodation, which has significantly increased the standard of our facilities at UL."

Dorm price hikes have also occurred across other universities in Dublin: Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, and University College Dublin.

The Cost of Education in Ireland, a recent report from insurance company Zurich, recently said 41% of parents in 2018 were falling into debt covering the costs associated with increasing accommodations.

It seems Ireland, just like the US, is dealing with rapid inflation rates when it comes to higher education, at some point, this will all implode.