A consistent trend across universities is the skyrocketing of rent in university halls.
There is no reason why rent should be so high and increasing at the rate it is.
So why is my rent so high? Since 2010 direct funding to universities has been completely cut and now universities are entirely reliant on your £9,000+ fees for funding. Whereas before university funding was always guaranteed, now it is insecure — universities now need to spend copious amounts of money on PR, visit days and brochures, to attract your loans.
However, it also means that universities look for other ways to make funding more stable — one way to do this is to increase rent and channel this money back into management and expansion.
Secondly, universities are acting ever more like businesses — universities now aim ever more for profit and expansion. As such they want to gather enough money to make this possible. They do this by amongst other things: cutting paying, putting staff on worse contracts — and of course making the rent very damn high!
But it needn’t be this way. There is enough wealth in our society to make education and housing and accessible for all and get rid of financial barriers to education. We can only do this through collective and disruptive action. One way in particular has been to organise rent strikes whereby students withhold rent en masse and gain collective leverage over university management. Students from London, to Brighton, to Bristol, have been involved in this and in some cases have made massive wins as big as £1 million in rent cuts and freezes and bursary increases.
Let’s make housing accessible for all! Let’s cut the rent!