College rents: why we are demonstrating

A demonstration against College rent rises is taking place on Monday 16th November

A cross-University group of students is organising a day of action against the University’s College feeson Monday 16th November. They wish to see a freeze in College fees.

Durham University has raised its maximum College charge to a remarkable £7,104 this year. That is over £1,500 more than the maximum student loan, pricing many of the best and brightest students out of living in College, or even coming to Durham. It has a knock-on effect on house prices in the City, making all but the outer edges of Durham unaffordable to many. This is not right, and the University needs to hear the concerns of its students.

As a cross-University coalition, we will be performing a demonstration outside the Bill Bryson Library on 16th November. Durham’s College fees are too high, have risen too fast, and may rise again within the next month. This is simply unacceptable, for the damage it does to current and prospective students.

We worry that Durham’s College charges put off great students who do not have the means to pay housing charges above their student loan. It is short-sighted, unfair and wrong for the University to cut itself off from such fantastic young people.

As well, the University admits itself that less than seventy per cent of College charges go on the running and maintenance of accommodation – over thirty per cent goes on building work, or is simply kept back by the University to invest. It is wrong for the University to expect its students to fund its investment and growth strategy out of the fees they pay to their College.

The problems don’t stop there. High fees have a knock on effect on the rents of the often poorly kept, neglected housing in the city, with housing costing over £100 a week becoming more and more prevalent, and properties in the most desirable areas reaching £130 a week. High College fees should not have an effect on students who choose to live in private rented accommodation.

It is simply is not right that the University adopts such a blasé attitude towards its students. Our demonstration will be a powerful message to the University about students’ opinions on College cost increases. We want one simple thing; a freeze in accommodation fees so they do not reach dangerously high levels.

We need to build on the success of last year’s protest to further show the University that it needs to take action. We need your help if we are going to do that. If you want to support our campaign, have fun and even save some money in accommodation charges, come along. Let’s make this the biggest protest Durham has seen.

The demonstration will take place outside the Bill Bryson Library at 12:30 on Monday 16th November. Like the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/events/923628794394670/?ref=108&action_history=

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