Does your university offer accommodation for you?

Student Parents contacted the top 50 universities in the U.K. to try and find out which universities offer accommodation for students. Getting the results was tougher than we thought it would be, but here they are. https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?snapid=S445310_ROF

Click on each red tag to find out which university offers accommodation to student parents, how much they offer, at what price, and if childcare is on site.

When I embarked on the task of finding out which university in the U.K. offers what accommodation for student parents, I didn’t realise just how difficult it would be. I emailed and rang 50 universities, and under half of them got back to me with the information, and often, they couldn’t tell me specific numbers. For the universities that didn’t reply, I had to find the information myself on their website. This turned out to be nearly impossible. On a lot of websites, there was no clear section on the website where student parents would be able to go to find out the information relevant to them. Often, information on family accommodation was no more than a paragraph. On the majority of websites, the information was classed in the postgraduate section- not with accommodation at all, and the accommodation was classed ‘family accommodation.’ This meant accommodation for people with partners as well, so often you couldn’t tell if the rooms would only have one double bed, and no space for a child anyway. Many universities stated that the accommodation offered was a studio room, with a small annex for a child under the age of 2. Overall I was shocked at how difficult this information was to come by, and how unhelpful many accommodation offices were when I called up. Below is a little bit more information about universities providing accommodation for student parents, and the results we found.

  • Many universities, such as Oxford Brookes and Abersytwyth said they had ‘very limited’ accommodation for student parents. They could provide no information about fees, or what the accommodation was like, and said it would be better to enquire elsewhere, such as private accommodation, as it was unlikely a student parent would be able to get a room with them.
  • Other universities, such as Birmingham had availability for couples, but not student parents. I noticed with a lot of universities that the price of accommodation for couples was the same as accommodation for student parents. This means that if a lone parent were to stay in the accommodation, they would have to pay the same amount as if two adults were staying in the accommodation, and it could get very pricey.
  • In London, at lot of the universities had limited or no accommodation for student parents. However, the University of London, which is comprised of a number of educational institutions in London, offer accommodation for students attending a number of different universities. Though a lot of the intercollegiate halls offered are for international students, they do have accommodation for student parents as well, so it may be worth looking at what they offer. However, there is a rather lengthy waiting list, and international students do tend to get priority.
  • Some universities that did not offer on site childcare do have nurseries or childcare nearby that they would recommend. Stirling University has a nursery very close by, which offers discount childcare to the university. In other cases, it may be worth checking elsewhere. For example, in Leeds the on site nursery is more expensive than childcare off campus.
  • Because of the way the college system works at Oxford and Cambridge, it was very difficult to find out how much accommodation they offered, as there is no main accommodation centre at these universities that collect this data themselves. Most of the college websites will state if they have family accommodation available (Cambridge has a list of colleges on its website that say which have student parent accommodation, and Oxford were finally able to get back to me on the number of rooms they offer for student parents, though they did not tell me which halls offered what!)
  • Some universities were particularly unhelpful when it came to student parent accommodation. St. Andrews could give me no specific details and would not give me prices. They are the top university in the UK not to offer any student parent accommodation, though they said they had ‘university managed rooms,’ but again, gave very little information about this. The only university that I would say is worse, is Buckingham, who offer no accommodation, and do not let children onto their campus!

Universities that were helpful include Leeds, who offer the most accommodation out of the top 50, Lancaster, Southampton, Leicester and Newcastle who were among the few who got back to me quickly, with the information I asked for and many said if I had any other questions to get back to them. What I liked the most about Leeds, was that they did not refer me to their website, where there was a lot of general information, but answered my specific questions, which I found really helpful.

While some of the accommodation listed may only take one child, or children under a certain age, hopefully this will give you some guidance as to what accommodation is available at these universities. https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?snapid=S4453323gyg

Scroll over the blue line to see which university it is, and how many rooms they offer.

Despite all of this, the amount of accommodation offered to student parents is extremely low. Even though Leeds offer the most accommodation out of the top 50 universities, only 4% of people who apply for these rooms get one. (Kaniz tells us about her struggle with accommodation). In other big cities, such as Manchester and Liverpool, the universities offer no accommodation whatsoever to student parents. Many student parents have to look at private sector accommodation, which is often more expensive, and unpredictable. Accommodation seems to be yet another example of universities not providing enough for student parents.

Lillie

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