UNIVERSITY of Limerick (UL) is to add hundreds of extra beds to its on-campus accommodation to meet growing demand and to provide a more affordable option for students.
UL has announced it will introduce a shared accommodation (twin room) option which will add 630 extra beds to its existing on-campus accommodation offering in time for the new academic year this coming September.
“With the growth in student numbers and following a detailed review of different options and a survey of student requirements, we are planning to develop shared accommodation for students,” explained UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald.
“Existing campus accommodation bedrooms will be retrofit as twin rooms rather than single rooms with the upgrade to be completed for next September, adding hundreds of new beds to those already provided in our six student villages. This will add another 630 beds to the 2,850 already available in our on-campus residences,” he added.
UL has experienced phenomenal growth in the past 12 years, with an almost 50 per cent increase in student numbers from 11,500 to 16,300 in 2019.
Michael Foley, Chief Operations Officer at Campus Life Services, which manages UL’s accommodation offering, said, “We encountered significant demand for on-campus accommodation in August 2019 which made it particularly challenging for both students and parents in the search for accommodation options at the beginning of term.
“In light of this demand and expected further growth at the University we will create twin bed options in existing accommodation on campus for September 2020.”
The Campus Life Services COO believes this will help to address the challenge on supply of accommodation in the short term, as well as providing a more affordable cost option for parents and students: “With twin room costs ranging from under €3,000 to €4,250 per person which includes utilities and UL Sport membership,” he added.
UL’s on-campus accommodation, which last year was accredited to Fáilte Ireland’s Welcome Standard, encompasses six residential villages – Thomond, Dromroe, Cappavilla, Kilmurry and Plassey, all of which are on the Castletroy campus, and the Troy student village, located approximately 15 minutes’ walk to the main campus.
Campus Life Services also actively seeks alternative off-campus options for students seeking accommodation.
“We continue to promote to local house owners the tax-free option of renting a room to students,” explained Michael Foley.
“This rent a room option can provide an important source of tax-free cash (up to €14,000) per year to the householder and is becoming popular for households and students. Campus Life Services has run print and radio media campaigns over the last two years, along with flyer drops to thousands of homes promoting the ‘Rent a Room Scheme’.
“This rent a room sector now provides 5% of the University of Limerick accommodation requirements and has expanded since it was initially promoted in 2017,” he added.
In Spring 2019, UL’s Campus Accommodation was ranked number one in Ireland for both accommodation quality and cost in the ‘I-Graduate’ international student barometer survey.
Last year also marked the completion of a €20m four-year refurbishment programme which significantly increased the standard of on-campus residences.
Rental fees for UL on-campus accommodation include full utility costs (electricity, heating, cable TV and licence, refuse and Wi-Fi) as well as full membership to the UL Sports Arena gym facilities, bedding, and access to free campus residence events as part of the Campus Life programme.