Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD and Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD have  welcomed Government agreement on a new long term policy to develop student accommodation.

The three Ministers outlined the detail of the policy, which is a key deliverable under Housing for All, as they viewed plans for 521 beds in Dublin City University andMaynooth University with both to go to construction in the coming months.

Work is also progressing with University of Limerick and University of Galway who have also secured approval in principle for further investment.

Funding is provided on the basis that a portion of beds will be ring-fenced for disadvantaged students;

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Under this new policy:

  • The Government will fund the delivery of purpose built student accommodation
  • A call for proposals for accommodation projects for Technological Universities will open in the coming weeks;
  • Vacant properties will be repurposed into housing for students, including properties on college owned lands;
  • Reducing cost of construction and increase the pace of delivery through standardised design;
  • Improved public transport to be explored for students;
  • Continued support of the digs scheme with local authority and medical card changes to come into effect.

 

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Minister Harris said:

I am delighted to confirm Government has agreed a long-term policy on student accommodation.

This policy will help increase the supply of student housing in campuses across the country but will also help prevent students competing with families for private rental accommodation.

This vision and policy will inform a new Student Accommodation Strategy, which will be published later this year.

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Minister O’Brien said:

Supply is key to addressing our housing needs and thankfully it continues to increase.

We have a robust stock of new homes in the pipeline as evidence by yesterday’s record breaking commencement figures.

Today’s announcement points to even more supply and is the result of close collaboration across Government.

We know that for every student space that is created it helps to ease the pressure in the private rental market and both I and my Department will work with Minister Harris and his Department in significantly scaling up this supply.

From limiting the amount of deposits which can be requested, to introducing a renters tax credit and implementing a 2% cap on rent increases which apply to student specific accommodation also – this Government have clearly demonstrated we want to level the playing field for students.

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Minister Donohoe said:

I welcome the work to date on developing a policy in regard to student accommodation and look forward to the continued engagement between D/FHERIS and my officials with regard to the continued development of this policy and student accommodation proposals.

Taking a longer-term view, in any area, helps us to better plan for the future and to provide for exactly what it is we need.

This policy is designed to address the issue of student accommodation and to better meet students’ housing needs.

This, in turn, aims to improve the level of housing stock for others in the community; families, couples, other workers, as they will ultimately not be competing for the same premises.

It should also provide students with greater certainty and affordability when it comes to securing a place to live during the academic year.

I look forward to the publication of the full Strategy in the coming period.

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State funding will be provided for the development of accommodation on university campuses.

An allocation is ring-fenced for a targeted groups of students at below market rates for an agreed period of time.

This long term policy will inform the development of the new student accommodation strategy and associated schemes to be developed in 2024.

Funding for this Policy will be agreed through the National Development Plan.

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Welcoming the news Minister Rabbitte said:

This is a key deliverable and I look forward to the publishing of the full strategy in the very near future.

Planning for student accommodation is a critical aspect of ensuring a positive and supportive learning environment for tertiary education.

In the medium term, universities and colleges need to strategise on providing affordable, safe, and accessible housing options for students which involves forecasting the expected student population, identifying suitable locations for accommodation facilities, and collaborating with local communities to address housing needs sustainably.

Long-term planning should encompass the development of additional on-campus residences or partnerships to meet the growing demand.

 

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and she continued:

It’s crucial to consider amenities that contribute to students’ well-being, such as study spaces, recreational facilities, and access to public transportation.

Thoughtful planning for student accommodation not only supports academic success but also fosters a sense of community and belonging, contributing to a holistic and enriching educational experience.

Universities and educational institutions must continually reassess and adjust their accommodation strategies to accommodate changing student demographics and preferences while upholding the principles of affordability and inclusivity.

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