University officials have voted to raise the rent on graduate accommodation by nearly 6% next year, with no new services or improvements being provided to the current accommodation.
The University’s Property Management Sub-Committee voted to raise rents for all graduate accommodation – including Castle Mill, Summertown House, and 25 Wellington Square – by 5.8%. This was despite the dissent of sole student delegate and Oxford SU VP for Charities and Community, Tom Barringer.
Oxford SU has now invited the chair of that committee – Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources, David Prout – to an open meeting, where students can ask him “about how this decision was made and listen to any concerns graduate students might have.”
The rent hike will only affect central University housing, likely creating greater demand for the limited college accommodation available to graduates.
Barringer told Cherwell: “This 5.8% rent increase is very concerning, especially for students who are already struggling to make ends meet in Oxford as a graduate student.
“Students are the University’s beating heart, and where the University should be investing the most. In particular, graduate students should require special attention here because of the additional challenges facing them (including typically less access to college accommodation).
“This rent increase is another worrying example of the University treating education as a market product, treating students as consumers from which to extract money and staff as precariously employed and unable even to get a decent pension.
“We would welcome all students to the SU on 4 Worcester Street on 3rd May to raise any questions or concerns they have with David Prout.”
During the 2016-17 academic year, 57% of all full-time graduate students and 70% of full-time graduate freshers were housed either by the University or in colleges.
Oxford University has been contacted for comment.