The Durham Students’ Union (DSU) has launched a petition calling on the University to reconsider the increase in college fees announced for next academic year.
Anne Sayers, Colleges Office Manager, sent an email to students on 28 November announcing increases of nearly 8.5% for freshers and finalists in catered accommodation, and nearly 9% for those in ensuite rooms.
A standard let in 2015–16 will cost £6,819 – £530 more than this academic year – while ensuite rooms will be £7,104, compared to £6,523 in 2014–15.
The email blamed above-inflation increases in utility and food bills for the rises, as well as the need to spent more on repairs and maintenance.
But the DSU asked for a further explanation from the Colleges Office.
Students have also raised concerns about the terminology used in the breakdown of costs, with unclear cost descriptors such as “non-staff”.
Laura Carter, DSU Communities Officer, said: “We are very disappointed with the increase in undergraduate residence charges.
“We urged the University to keep the prices as low as possible and explain why their prices are increasing far in excess of the UK rate of inflation.
“The report includes an increase in the budget for repair and maintenance. We have requested a detailed plan for how the repair and maintenance charge will be spent.
“Whilst we acknowledge that the University has provided more information on the cost base than in previous years, we believe it must do more to explain and justify the price increase.”