Posted on Fri 16 Sep 2016 at 16:00 by Christopher Carter
For the fourth year in succession, many incoming postgraduate students have been left without any accommodation due to a mix of over-recruitment and mismanagement by the University. Every year, we are given assurances that it won’t happen again – and then, 12 months down the line, the situation invariably worsens.
Given the previous entreaties and subsequent run of broken promises on the issue of postgraduate accommodation, we must be clear: put simply, the repeated university-wide over-recruitment of students represents at best sustained mismanagement and at worst putting money ahead of students. It would appear that the University would rather be hundreds of students above capacity than a few dozen under.
In previous years, temporary hotel accommodation has been provided as an interim measure to all students while they look for off-campus housing; however, this year the over-recruitment has been so severe that this has not been possible. The situation this presents is particularly pronounced for international students, some of whom face the prospect of moving to a new country and not having anywhere to stay. As if searching for private accommodation from overseas isn’t challenging enough, paying a deposit or signing a contract to secure accommodation that you have not seen (or may not even exist) is highly inadvisable.
There are students who applied for their courses in the spring – and accommodation as early as May – who are now hearing that they are not being offered any permanent accommodation just a week before they are due to arrive. Students in this position include those who have already paid thousands of pounds on visas, travel costs and even course fees, taken out expensive commercial loans, have given up their jobs, have potentially uprooted their families, or have rejected offers at other universities (including those who were able to provide accommodation). This is grossly unfair, and a position that Warwick should not be putting its students in.
Every year this happens, it is clearly the students who suffer most. At a time when students should be settling into their courses, making friends and getting prepared for the year ahead, they have no choice but to search for accommodation. Thanks to the hard work of the Students’ Union Advice Centre and Warwick Accommodation, the worst effects are mitigated wherever possible, but unavoidably for some students the impact of this upheaval follows them through their year of study.
Not only is this situation utterly unacceptable, it is avoidable – demonstrating once again the negative effects of systemic failures within the University and the dangers of a marketised education system whereby student welfare is traded off against money in the bank. I again call upon anyone who has been affected by this ongoing debacle to send their personal experiences to me at via firstname.lastname@example.org so that the full extent of the human impact can be presented to the University.
If you require advice on how to safely find accommodation in the local area, please check out our Postgraduate Housing Support and Advice article. If you have any unanswered queries, you can also contact the SU’s Advice Centre via www.warwicksu.com/advice.