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Wadham College rent to increase by up to 24%

Average rent in Wadham College will increase by nearly 10% by the next academic year, with rent on main site accommodation, which is for first and third years, increasing by up to 23.9%. Students will see a year’s rent on term-long licences rise from £5,408.94 to £6,700. This comes as the College Disparities Report recently showed that Wadham College has the seventh highest accommodation costs.

Rent for second and fourth years will increase by 7.6% and 13.5% respectively for off-site accommodation, rising from £7,315.95 to £8,300 on a nine-month contract. Both accomodations come with en-suite rooms and kitchens and are located around a half-hour walk from Wadham College’s main site.

This year Wadham College has changed its method of rent calculation. Previously, it was centred around the Retail Price Index (RPI) without regard for cost of living and funding shortfalls. It is now based on the University of Oxford’s own estimates of living costs, available to find on the University website. 

There will also be more generous Accommodation Assistance Bursaries (AABs). With six brackets of household income, students will receive different levels of bursaries to help pay for their accommodation: the maximum of £1000, for the most expensive second year accommodation, will increase to £1600. This is one of the most generous and comprehensive AABs offered by Oxford colleges. 

Student Finance England loans will increase by 2.5% next academic year, while the Office for National Statistics measures inflation at 3.8%. Oxford University also estimated accommodation costs will increase by 4.20% and 7.57% for ‘lower range’ and ‘upper range’ budgets respectively. 

Wadham Student Union President, Oluwaseun Sowunmi, told Cherwell: “The next SU executive team will negotiate for lower future headline rent increases where possible, but hopefully the economic state of Britain could be better and our economic health indicators like inflation will be low and they won’t have to.” 

Sowunmi also explained that Wadham College acknowledges the financial difficulties students may face, and told Cherwell they will carry on promoting student welfare through reimbursement schemes for taxis, prescriptions, menstrual and sexual health products, and cheap coffee and snacks.

According to the recently published College Disparities Report, wealthier colleges tend to charge lower rents, have smaller rent increases, and provide better help for students from lower income households. However, Wadham College has the fifteen highest endowment fund and seventeenth highest income from investment yet it also has the seventh highest rent. 

Meanwhile, Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) has the highest rent and the fifth lowest endowment fund, and second lowest investment income. St John’s College has the cheapest accommodation, and the largest endowment and third highest investment income. 

A student from Wadham told Cherwell: “I think their rent prices in general are starting to go against all of their access initiatives…it defeats the object of being a college that claims to be all about access to education.”

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