Following a student campaign led by Durham SU President Alice Dee, Durham University has committed to establishing a group to review how college accommodation fee structures could be changed to make pricing fairer across different college accommodation offerings. The campaign aims to tackle college accommodation fees in Durham, which are effectively pricing some students out of the college experience, and will culminate with a demo on Wednesday 7 June.
Owen Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) said:
“We have listened to our students and understand that they would like to see a range of accommodation packages that go beyond what is currently offered.
“I can therefore confirm that a Residential Accommodation Differential Pricing Group has been established to consider various options for the setting of differentiated residence charges from the 2019/20 academic year onwards.
“The Group is made up of senior colleagues from within our Colleges, University catering and finance professionals as well as student representatives. They will meet regularly and make recommendations to the Scholarships, Fees and Awards Advisory Group (SFAAG) for residence charges.”
President Alice Dee is pleased with the response, but believes there is still more to be done. “This is a fantastic success for the #RippedOff campaign, because a review that examines the option for students to pay different amounts depending on room facilities, is one of the key outcomes we set out to achieve.”
“This is something we’ve been pushing the University for, not just through this campaign but through my work, and the work of other student representatives over the last few years. The willingness of the University to come to the table about this is something I’m very grateful for, and that demonstrates that we’re creating an understanding of the impact this issue has on students and the importance that the student voice be heard on it. However this recognition and willingness to listen needs to be followed through on, with action to remedy the arbitrary steep increases in accommodation fees in recent years. The key things that will really make a difference in the lives of students are reduction and freezing of fees until more transparent and fairer way of managing these fees and their increases can be established. I firmly these are achievable actions for the University given the disproportionate scale of increases over several years, and our #RippedOff campaign and upcoming demo on 7 June will focus on this.”
The demonstration will take place at the Science Site at 10:00, as the University’s Scholarships, (Fees and Awards Advisory Group SFAAG) will be meeting to discuss a range of topics including accommodation fees.
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