The top universities in the UK say they fear a boom in student numbers
because they don't have enough accommodation - and private landlords say
they are fully booked.
In a report in the Guardian, one unnamed Vice-Chancellor said growing
numbers of universities now fear being forced to take thousands of extra
students this year.
They say that teacher-assessed A-levels will probably mean more
18-year-olds are achieving higher grades for a university place.
Now, universities are discussing how to persuade, or even pay, potential
students to defer their place until next year when pressure on facilities
and accommodation will be eased.
Private student accommodation 'is full'
The unnamed Vice-Chancellor told the newspaper: "Private accommodation
providers are saying already that bookings are full."
He added that some universities paid students last year to defer and that
if students do meet their grade expectations there is 'little universities
UCAS, the admission service, says that last year most universities accepted
more students onto their courses.
They highlight University College London which accepted 32% more
undergraduate students from the UK in 2020 than it did in 2019.
The University of Sheffield accepted 27% more, the University of Manchester
accepted 22%, while King's College London and Exeter University accepted
'Opportunities for student accommodation landlords'
The managing director of Accommodation for Students, Simon Thompson, said:
"While there will be opportunities for student accommodation landlords,
universities are already worrying about student numbers.
"After what has been a very trying year for the student accommodation
sector, there will be lots of student landlords watching what happens over
the coming months with keen interest."
Student rental guarantor service approached by universities
Meanwhile, one rental guarantor service in the UK has said there has been a
big increase in the number of universities inquiring about their services.
The news from Housing Hand highlights that Covid-19 pressures are still
continuing to have an impact on the higher education sector.
The growth in enquiries comes as students returned to in-person teaching
from 17 May.
The firm's managing director, Jeremy Robinson, said: "Covid has exacerbated
financial difficulties that the universities and students are facing with
increasing rent relief bills taking their toll.
"Now many universities are seeking alternative ways of supporting their
students to remain in their accommodation if they experience financial
Housing Hand is partnering with universities to help alleviate the issue of
students struggling to provide a rent guarantor when they are renting
private student accommodation.
The tie-up between the rent guarantor and the universities will be a 'white
label service' - with the universities promoting the service to its
students with the guarantor delivering it.