700 Postgrads Miss Out On Campus Accommodation

Some students were given just five weeks to find a new place to live.

Two in five postgraduate students who applied for on-campus accommodation this year were unsuccessful, a York Vision investigation has found.

700 students were unsuccessful in their application, with 90 of these being offered off-campus accommodation in Student Castle.

Applications for continuing postgraduate students to live on campus opened in late January, leaving some students waiting over 200 days to be told they were unsuccessful.

This left hundreds of students looking for other accommodation options in mid-August, less than five weeks before Postgraduate Welcome Week.

Applicants were told that campus was now fully booked, with students being recommended to look to secure private accommodation in the city.

The same email also suggested that students could book temporary accommodation on their arrival and look for accommodation once they were in York, linking to Airbnb, among other sites.

One postgraduate student, who spoke to Vision, had been told they were unsuccessful in applying for the same room they had held in on-campus accommodation for the past year and would now need to find somewhere new to live before their contract ended in three weeks.

This student told Vision:

“I was at home, on holiday, when I found out.

“I only had 1 week holiday that summer, and halfway through it I received the rejection email, telling me I had to find another place to live for the coming year.

“So, I spent the other half of my holiday messaging people and trying to find a new place.

“It was very stressful, because I wasn’t expecting this to happen, and because I only had a few weeks to find a new place, and I wasn’t even in the UK at that time.”

Some postgraduate students were subsequently offered accommodation in Leeds.

Four days before the start of Welcome Week, those postgraduate students still on the accommodation waiting list were asked to let the Accommodation Team know if they were willing to accept accommodation in Hull or Leeds.

Students were given the two days before 19 September to make this decision, the day before the first campus tours began for new postgraduate students.

Four weeks after Welcome Week began, those still waiting for accommodation were told their application had been cancelled.

These students were told they would need to reapply to a new waiting list for in-year applicants to have a chance of securing a place to live in York during their studies.

A spokesperson for the GSA said: “The GSA continues to lobby and work closely with the university to ensure a fair and equitable application process to university accommodation.

“The GSA has been working to improve the experience of York PGT’s previously guaranteed accommodation and located in Leeds by the University. In collaboration with YUSU we have so far helped to secure a rent reduction and travel subsidy for these students alongside a wider package of benefits in accessing services from Leeds University.”

A University spokesperson said: “The process for postgraduate accommodation applications will not be changing for 2022, however we will make it clear, as we always do, that they are not guaranteed a room and should also explore private alternatives.”

They went on to say that: “University accommodation allocations are made in the days following the UK’s A-Level exam results, to ensure we are able to accommodate all students who applied for a room and had an accommodation guarantee.”

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