Government announces €434 million in funding for 2,700 new student beds

The Housing Financing Agency has secured the funding through a 40-year agreement with the European Investment Bank

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien today have announced a €434 million investment in student accommodation

The funding will enable higher education institutions (HEIs) to provide more than 2,700 student beds across Ireland.

The Housing Financing Agency (HFA) and European Investment Bank (EIB) today agreed on a €434 million financing initiative that will fund higher education institutions in the development of new and affordable student accommodation.

It will include the construction and refurbishment of accommodation at Irish universities.

Speaking today, Harris said: “This is fantastic news for Irish universities and their students and I want to pay tribute to the EIB and HFA for delivering this important agreement.”

“Every student bed we create has a double benefit. It helps the student and their family, but it also frees up private rental accommodation in our cities and towns.”, Harris said.

“This investment by the EIB and HFA will have significant benefits for access to education, and crucially to the wider housing market” he continued.

“This announcement will assist institutions with the cost of building accommodation and help bridge the gap between viability and affordability for students. Applications will now open and I look forward to seeing the outcome of this important partnership” he concluded.

The financing mechanism announced today is the first ever student accommodation funding arrangement made between the EIB and HFA. It involves a 40-year €200 million loan from the EIB, with the HFA more than matching the investment, bringing the total to €434 million.

Today’s announcement from the EIB and HFA comes in addition to the recent government announcement of €61 million towards the development of over 1,000 beds across 4 Irish universities.

O’Brien said: “This government is focussed on scaling up the supply of all types of housing and accommodation, including student accommodation which we know is so badly needed.”

“The HFA is already playing a significant role in facilitating the delivery of thousands of social and affordable homes throughout the country. So it is well placed to play a lead role in improving the supply of student accommodation.”, O’Brien added.

“I want to commend everyone involved in this historic agreement.”

To date, the HFA have financed the delivery of over 2,400 student beds across Ireland. Over the last decade, the EIB has provided €950 million for housing investment by the HFA.

In 2021, the HFA was empowered to provide financing to higher education institutions to support the delivery of student accommodation and has recently been granted approval for this empowerment to extend to technological universities. The development of long term policy for student accommodation is currently being worked on alongside the University and Technological University sector.

Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Finance Agency, said: “We had the pleasure of visiting new student accommodation delivered by the University of Galway and Trinity College Dublin in recent months and were impressed by the quality and innovation of the developments.”

“We are proud to support these housing schemes with financing and we are eager to work with higher education institutions to facilitate the delivery of more high quality, affordable student accommodation across the country”, O’Leary said.

“This latest cooperation between the HFA and the EIB will ensure that long-term, competitive financing is available for new student housing projects over the next five years.”

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, added: “The European Investment Bank is committed to backing visionary investment that strengthens access to education across Europe and over the last decade has supported transformational investment at hundreds of Irish schools and all Irish universities as well as construction of social housing across the country.

“The €200 million 40-year EIB financing agreed with our long-standing partner HFA today will build new student accommodation across Ireland, providing students with better and more affordable places to live and reduce pressure on local housing.”

Conor Healy

Conor Healy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in his Senior Freshman Year studying Law and Political Science