Ripped Off campaign page

College accommodation fees have risen every year for the last nine years at rates which are yet to be justified by the University. #RippedOff calls for the University to re-evaluate the cost of accommodation and make Durham’s unique collegiate experience accessible to all.

Over the past three years Students’ Union Presidents have gained University agreement that fees won’t be increased by arbitrary amounts, commitment to a review of differentiated pricing, commitment to an increase in funds for bursaries and to a tiered bursary system and agreement to a report to show how colleges are funded, due this September.

But there’s still a lot of work to do, because despite our extensive paper to the University executive council, accommodation fees have risen again by 3.38% for the 2019/20 academic year. You can read more about it here.

If you want the latest updates from the campaign follow our President George on social media.


Ripped Off Journey

Accomodation fees

July 2001

Durham SU lead a student sleep-out outside the Vice-Chancellors home to protest accommodation fees rising by over £200 to help cover an £8 million university refurbishment bill.

October 2010

The University announces they have increased accommodation fees by 13% for the 2011/12 academic year.

February 2013

The SU commissions an external body to establish the cost of living in Durham to provide a comparison with college accommodation fees.

October 2014

Accommodation fees spike again as the University announces a 9% increase for the 2015/16 academic year.

Jan 2015

University justifies increase in accommodation fees by claiming an expected rise in the cost of gas, electricity and food prices.

Students launch petition in protest against soaring accommodation fees, gaining over 2000 signatures.

Student representatives push for greater transparency from the University asking to know where the money paid by livers-in goes.

February 2015

Durham Students for University Reform (DSUR) organised a student protest marching through the Palatinate Centre demanding a freeze in accommodation fees.

December 2015

Students held a ‘Funeral for Accessible Education’. Led by a ‘grim reaper’, students carried dying or wilting flowers to be placed into a coffin representing the death of affordable and accessible education.

June 2016

Students organise Alternative Durham Open Days to highlight how the extortionate accommodation fees are costing people out of Durham.

October 2016

Durham for Accessible Education launched a petition asking for improved financial support for students struggling to meet accommodation fees.


Every year a paper against rising accommodation fees is submitted to SFAAG. The University is very reluctant to consider the views of the student body in their decision making. Let the #RippedOff journey begin...

May 2017

#RippedOff is born after a policy is passed at Assembly. #RippedOff’s first action is a petition, which received over 2,000 signatures from dissatisfied students.

Ripped Off Logo

June 2017
  • #RippedOff has its first success, as the University commits to setting up a group to look into differential pricing.
  • A demonstration is planned to take place outside the University meeting discussing next year’s accommodation fees (SFAAG), but at last minute the University disappointingly move the meeting outside of term-time. SU President Alice Dee, in an effort to ensure the voices of students are still heard, hand delivers a hard copy of the petition to the Vice Chancellor.


October 2017

Rippedoff protest

November 2017
  • Another demonstration takes place outside the Palatine Centre, featuring speeches from several students.
  • Students fill out postcards explaining why they feel #RippedOff. Responses are heart-breaking, telling of elitism, isolation, and financial difficulties.

Ripped off postcards

June 2018
  • After extensive research from SU staff, a 13-page proposal is submitted to SFAAG detailing the feasibility and necessity of a freeze in fees. The University responds with an inadequate 59-word ‘no’.
  • Megan Croll rallies students on Facebook live and organises a meeting to discuss the next steps of the campaign.
  • George Walker and David Evans hand out flyers at the University Open Day, informing prospective students about the extortionate fees. The action clearly scares the University, and George and David are asked to leave the premises.

Megan - Ripped off

July 2018
  • The University commits to a new tiered bursary system after lobbying from SU President Megan Croll. This gives more students access to appropriate financial support.

David and George Open days

October 2018

Pay your cards right

November 2018

St Aidans RippedOff

December 2018
  • Students send handwritten postcards to the Vice Chancellor about the effect the cost of college has on them.
  • George receives acknowledgement from the Vice Chancellor responding to the postcards he received from students.


January 2019
  • A student takes a motion to Assembly asking the relevant Officers to provide support to student groups undertaking rent strikes.
  • A policy is passed at Assembly, which asks the SU to support direct action against rising accommodation fees. Durham SU begins research into rent strikes.

Assembly motion

March 2019
  • Student Officers join members of the St Aidan’s Ripped Off society outside the SU to call the university out on the lack of transparency around accommodation fees and the low rate of social inclusion at Durham. This event was part of a National Day of Action aiming to raise the profile of the nationwide housing crisis.

Assembly motion

June 2019
  • Assembly passes a core policy on Value for Money. The policy provides a definition of what getting “value for money” at Durham University means to students, which will help frame discussions with the University on this topic.
  • Durham SU release a report identifying the gap between students’ funding and the amount in costs to study at Durham. It’s clear that some students simply cannot afford to study here.

Student protesting cost of living in durham

#RippedOff will not be silenced. 2019/20 will be a year of continual escalating action. Keep updated on the campaign’s next steps in the Facebook group.