Over 5,000 student bed spaces to be provided by end of 2018

The goal was stated in a National Student Accommodation Strategy progress report

Photo by Joe McCallion for Trinity News

A National Student Accommodation Strategy progress report released today has stated that 5,423 purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) spaces will be completed by the end of 2018. The report was released today by the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English T.D.

The report details the progress of the strategy, which was launched last year to provide an increase in the number of PBSA spaces, as well as an increase in students staying in digs accommodation. The plan intends to create 7,000 new spaces by the end of 2019, with a total of 21,000 spaces provided by 2024. According to the report, the government remains on track to meet these targets.

The report shows that at the time of the report’s completion, 2,990 PBSA spaces had been created. It also shows that 7,257 further spaces were under construction and a further 7,000 had been granted planning permission. A further 1,209 PBSA spaces were at the planning permission application stage.

The plan provides new PBSA spaces by reducing the planning barriers for public and private sector student accommodation developments. It also tackles the financial issues that act as barriers to higher education institutions.  

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor recognised the importance of the strategy and said: “Students and parents have been heavily impacted by housing and accommodation shortages, particularly so in the context of the high demand for accommodation around our Colleges, Institutes of Technology and Universities – in light of this it is heartening to see that there is a healthy pipeline of student accommodation projects in train. Access to accommodation is a crucial factor in access to, and continued participation in, higher education.”

“Constructing additional accommodation will have long term benefits in moderating rent levels. In the short term I would also encourage people to consider renting a spare room to a college student and availing of the rent-a-room scheme. Whereby individuals can earn €14,000 tax free per annum for renting a room in their home. This would not only provide an alternative source of accommodation for students, but is also a potential income for parents and others who may have a spare room available.”

Minister of State, Damien English commented on the progress. saying: “These latest figures are further evidence that increased supply of purpose built student accommodation continues to be delivered for this important segment of the housing market.”

“In particular, I am delighted that the specific planning measures delivered through the Rebuilding Ireland strategy, such as planning applications for student accommodation being made directly to An Bord Pleanala, are contributing to the continuing pipeline of future student accommodation projects that will be built in Ireland.”

The National Student Accommodation Strategy (NSAS) is a central action in the government plan Rebuilding Ireland. It was developed by the Department of Education and Skills, alongside the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, to deliver an increase in supply of PBSA spaces.

These increases come at a time when the level of full-time students attending publicly-funded higher education institutions is expected to increase, with the Department of Education and Skills previously indicating that this level is to increase by 27% by 2030.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have also launched a campaign to promote the use of accommodation in private homes. The campaign seeks to highlight the ability of landlords to receive up to 14,000 in tax-free income under the rent-a-room scheme.

Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister Law student, and a former Deputy News Editor.