University defends grad rent increase

A spokesman for Oxford University has defended the university’s decision to increase graduate rent by 5.8% next academic year.

Speaking to The Oxford Student, he said that “inflation at 4% and an increase of 1.8% per annum … to reflect depreciation costs” were the reason for the hike.

Moreover, he implied that further rent increases would not be quite as large: “going forward increases in rents to reflect inflation and depreciation will be contained within a 3.5 – 5.5% band.”

The increase affects all university owned accommodation, but not that owned directly by colleges – it is therefore likely to cause extra demand for college accommodation.

Last academic year 57% of full-time graduate students were housed in either university or college accommodation.

Tom Barringer, Oxford SU VP for Charities and Community, was the student delegate at the meeting of the university’s Property Management Sub-Committee where the increase was decided.

He told The Oxford Student: “This 5.8% rent increase is very concerning, especially for students who are already struggling to make ends meet in Oxford as a graduate student.

Students are the University’s beating heart, and where the University should be investing the most.

In particular, graduate students should require special attention here because of the additional challenges facing them (including typically less access to college accommodation).

From their reluctance to protect staff pensions to their failure to provide graduate students with reasonable rents, it is worrying that the University cannot fairly treat so many of those who work within its walls.”