To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Office for Students on the cost of student accommodation at Higher Education Institutions.
6 December 2018
The department has regular discussions with the Office for Students (OfS) on a very wide range of issues of importance to students, including matters relating to accommodation.
Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government; government plays no direct role in the provision of student residential accommodation and does not issue rent charging guidance to universities.
Loans for living costs are a contribution towards a student’s living costs while attending university. The student funding system targets the most support at those from the lowest-income families, who need it most.
Living costs support increased by 10.3% for eligible students on the lowest incomes in 2016/17 compared to the previous system with further increases of 2.8% for 2017/18 and 3.2% for the current, 2018/19, academic year. We have announced a further 2.8% increase for loans for living costs for the 2019/20 academic year – to a record amount.
All universities who wish to charge fees above the basic level are required to have an access and participation plan approved by the OfS. Through these plans, universities can fund bursaries for disadvantaged students, such as care leavers.