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Students: Housing

Question for Department for Education

UIN 198277, tabled on 3 December 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) criteria and (b) guidance his Department has issued to universities on the charging policies and procedures for student accommodation.

Answered on

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.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.