UNIVERSITY of Limerick is to add hundreds of extra beds to its on-campus accommodation to meet growing demand and to provide a more affordable option for students.
The university announced it will introduce a twin room option, which will add 630 extra beds to its existing on-campus accommodation offering in time for the new academic year.
“With the growth in student numbers and following a detailed review of different options and a survey of student requirements, we are planning to develop shared accommodation for students,” explained UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald.
“Existing campus accommodation bedrooms will be retrofit as twin rooms rather than single rooms with the upgrade to be completed for next September, adding hundreds of new beds to those already provided in our six student villages. This will add another 630 beds to the 2,850 already available in our on-campus residences,” Dr Fitzgerald added.
It is understood that the option will be implemented in UL’s on-campus student villages of Dromroe, Troy, Cappavilla and Thomond, with six-bed units being increased to eight-beds.
There are no current policies set in place by UL regarding gender-segregating the shared rooms, with a spokesperson stating: “share requests for the new twin room option will be accommodated where possible.”
“Residents can expect to live with students who are in the same year,” it was added, “booking on-campus accommodation at UL is an open process and rooms will be allocated based on year of study.”
The spokesperson explained: “the allocation of rooms in University of Limerick’s on-campus accommodation is driven by a policy of creating vibrant communities in the residences.”
The decision to provide twin rooms is reflective of an accommodation survey carried out in the later months of 2019 by the university, the results of which “will be used to inform the provision of services to students by Campus Life Services, which manages UL’s on-campus accommodation.”
Applications for the coming academic year will open from the end of February or early March.
UL has experienced phenomenal growth in the past 12 years, with an almost 50% increase in student numbers from 11,500 to 16,300 in 2019. The University has consistently acted to adapt to this and to address future growth in providing modern spaces for education and research and further accommodation for students.
Michael Foley, Chief Operations Officer at Campus Life Services, which manages UL’s accommodation offering, said: “We encountered significant demand for on campus accommodation in August 2019 which made it particularly challenging for both students and parents in the search for accommodation options at the beginning of term.
“In light of this demand and expected further growth at the University we will create twin bed options in existing accommodation on campus for September 2020. This will help to address the challenge on supply of accommodation in the short term but also provides a more affordable cost option for parents with twin room costs ranging from under €3,000 to €4,250 per person which includes utilities and UL Sport membership,” he added.
In Spring 2019, UL’s Campus Accommodation was ranked number one in Ireland for both accommodation quality and cost in the ‘I-Graduate’ international student barometer survey.
Last year also marked the completion of a €20m four-year refurbishment programme which significantly increased the standard of on-campus residences.
Rental fees for UL on-campus accommodation include full utility costs as well as full membership to the UL Sports Arena gym facilities, bedding, and access to free campus residence events.