‘Double up’ option adds 630 beds to UL accommodation stock

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University you Limerick campus aerials Photo: True Media

UNIVERSITY of Limerick has announced a major plan to expand its student on-campus student accommodation to more than 3,400 beds to meet growing demand.

A spokesperson said the extra 630 beds would “provide a more affordable option for students”.

The University will introduce a new shared accommodation option, in time for the new academic year this coming September.

UL President, Dr Des Fitzgerald said: “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.”

He said the existing campus accommodation would be “retrofit as twin rooms rather than single rooms with the upgrade to be completed for next September.

“There are six student accommodation villages on the UL campus, and this will add another 630 beds to the 2,850 already available in our on-campus residences,” added Dr Fitzgerald.

A UL spokesman said the university 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, said they  encountered significant demand for on campus accommodation last August, which made it particularly challenging for students and parents in the search for accommodation at the beginning of term”.

He said the additional beds “will help to address the challenge on supply of accommodation in the short term, but also provides a more affordable cost option for parents with twin room costs ranging from under €3,000 to €4,250 per person which includes utilities and UL Sport membership”.

UL’s student residences are let on a commercial basis in the summer months.

“We continue to promote to local house owners the tax free option of renting a room to students. This rent a room option can provide up to €14,000 a year to the householder and is becoming popular for households and students. This rent a room sector now provides five per cent of the university’s accommodation requirements and has expanded since it was initially promoted in 2017,” added Mr Foley.

Last year UL’s Campus Accommodation was ranked number one in Ireland for both accommodation quality and cost in the ‘I-Graduate’ international student barometer survey. The university also recently completed a €20 million four-year refurbishment programme to raise its on-campus accommodation standards.

Rental fees for UL on-campus accommodation include full utility costs (electricity, heating, cable TV and licence, refuse and Wi-Fi) as well as membership of the UL Sports Arena gym and access to free campus residence events as part of the Campus Life programme.