Government to fund construction of campus accommodation for disadvantaged students

The government has introduced new policies to increase the supply of student accommodation in Ireland

The government announced on Friday it will fund the construction of new campus accommodation on the condition that a portion is ring-fenced for disadvantaged students.

Higher Education Simon Harris, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohue announced the plan as part of a new long-term policy to create more student accommodation across the country.

Under the policy, the government will fund the construction of campus accommodation and purpose-built student accommodation across Ireland.

State funding will be provided on the condition that a portion of campus accommodation is ring-fenced for targeted groups of students below market rates for an agreed period of time.

The new policy also includes repurposing vacant properties for student accommodation, including properties on college-owned lands, reducing the cost of construction through standardised design, and calls for accommodation in technological universities.

Plans for 521 beds in Dublin City University  and Maynooth University with both to go to construction in the coming months.

Further investment has been approved for similar works in the University of Limerick and the University of Galway.

The Short Term Activation Programme has approved €61 million of government funding to construct up to 1,000 student beds across these universities.

The Department of Higher Education is also engaging with Trinity, who previously received planning permission to add 358 beds to Trinity Hall.

Speaking today, Harris said the new accommodation policy will “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,” he said.

This announcement follows the policy’s introduction by Harris to Cabinet on January 16.

Future phases of the policy will look at repurposing vacant buildings for student housing. Currently, local authorities are taking a survey of vacant and derelict properties in relevant areas.

Costs associated with further construction will be reduced through the use of standardised designs.

The new policy will continue to support the digs scheme, in which homeowners rent rooms to students in need of accommodation.

The press release states that the policy also aims to explore the improvement of public transport for students.