UNIVERSITY of Limerick students have expressed their concern and frustration regarding a new accommodation policy announced by the third-level institute.
The new policy states that rooms in UL’s student accommodation for the 2020/2021 academic year are only available to incoming first-years and existing students who have lived in the accommodation for the duration of their studies.
The updated policy, revealed last Friday to students, also states that students progressing into 2nd and 3rd year this September can only apply for the new shared/twin bedroom option recently rolled out by UL in response to “unprecedented demand for accommodation from UL Students” in 2019.
“Only twin room (shared) accommodation will be offered to 2nd and 3rd-year students in 2020/21 academic year,” the policy states, “students progressing into 3rd year will need to have lived in one of our residences for the last 2 years. 3rd-year students can apply for twin (shared) rooms only. Students progressing into 2nd year will need to be current residents. 2nd-year students can apply for twin(shared) rooms only.”
Meanwhile, students progressing into their final year of study can apply for single bedrooms, though also have to have lived in one of UL’s residences for the past three years.
The university has also removed the availability of single-semester rooms for its returning undergraduate students this September.
“Priority Booking” for current residents is opened form 11am this Monday, and will close at 9am on Wednesday, February 26, and UL warns that applicants who do not meet the criteria "will be waitlisted and offered rooms if/when they become
available", though notes that "being placed on the waitlist is not a guarantee of a room and students are advised to seek alternative accommodation."
Last week, the Limerick Leader reported that accommodation rates in UL’s on-campus accommodation increased by 3.65 percent from last year’s rates at an average of €219.71, while prices have increased by 38.75 percent from 2016/2017 figures - an average of €1,682.21 in four years.
The university’s Student’s Union, UL Student Life, are set to release a statement today which is to include a course of action.
The newly-implemented shared/twin room option is said to add 630 beds to the 2,850 already available in UL’s on-campus residences of Dromroe, Troy, Cappavilla and Thomond, with six-bed units being increased to eight-beds.
Photographs that are allegedly of the shared/twin rooms were circulated across Twitter over the weekend, with almost 800 students having signed a petition against the move by UL which is said to “limit 2nd and 3rd years to shared rooms”.
"So the University of Limerick has decided to hike rent rates by 3.5% and force any 2nd & 3rd years who want to live on-campus into really cramped potential unsafe accommodation designed for only one person. Thanks for exploiting students guys! No plans to build any new rooms," said one student.
So the University of Limerick has decided to hike rent rates by 3.5% and force any 2nd & 3rd years who want to live on-campus into really cramped potential unsafe accommodation designed for only one person— Daniel O'Reilly (@dan0rei) February 21, 2020
Thanks for exploiting students guys!
No plans to build any new rooms pic.twitter.com/gpS2uGsgVM
Regarding the shared/twin bedrooms, a UL spokesperson told the Limerick Leader: “The allocation of rooms in University of Limerick’s on-campus accommodation is driven by a policy of creating vibrant communities in the residences. Residents can expect to live with students who are in the same year.
“Booking on-campus accommodation at UL is an open process and rooms will be allocated based on year of study. Share requests for the new twin room option will be accommodated where possible.
“The decision to provide shared (twin room) accommodation is reflective of the results of the UL Accommodation Survey 2019, which will also provide critical data to inform UL’s accommodation strategy moving forward.”