The recent news paints a challenging picture of finding a home in the UK for international students. In this blog, we will unravel the challenges that international students face, particularly those from India and Bangladesh, in their struggle for decent accommodation in the UK.
In this blog:
- The Housing Conundrum in the UK
- The Soaring Costs
- Quality Housing Crunch
- A Shared Plight
- Advocacy and Acknowledgment
- The Solution
The Housing Conundrum in the UK
The BBC recently reported that international students are grappling with the perfect storm of skyrocketing rents and exorbitant university accommodation costs. This unfortunate combination is pushing them into accepting subpar living conditions, with many finding it difficult to secure affordable housing, especially in a city as demanding as London. Lack of references and payslips, often prerequisites for rental agreements, further complicates their housing search, creating a maze of challenges.
The Soaring Costs
The housing situation for international students is exacerbated by the relentless surge in rental prices in the UK, as highlighted by a Cushman & Wakefield survey, indicating an over 8% increase compared to the previous year. Shockingly, fewer than one in ten available beds in major university cities align with the financial reach of students relying on maintenance loans and grants.
Quality Housing Crunch
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reported a whopping 679,970 international students pursuing degrees in the UK in the academic year 2021-2022. Among them, Indian students, numbering over 120,000, constitute one of the largest international student communities in the UK. This surge in numbers adds weight to the growing demand for affordable, quality living spaces.
A Shared Plight
Rashavh Kaushik, a law student from India, shed light on the financial strain faced by international students. To secure shared accommodation, he and his roommate had to shell out £16,000 (₹ 16.8 Lakhs) upfront and secure a guarantor, painting a vivid picture of the challenges many foreign students confront when seeking a suitable place to call home.
Advocacy and Acknowledgment
Nehaal Bajwa from the National Union of Students (NUS) expressed concerns to the BBC, pointing out that while universities actively recruit international students for their higher tuition fees, the growth outpaces the local housing market’s capacity. This leaves international students vulnerable to exploitation and financial strain, often unaware of their rights and at risk of homelessness. The NUS is actively advocating for rent controls tailored to the unique needs of students, recognizing their vulnerability in the housing market.
In response to the challenges faced by students, UK universities acknowledged the housing hurdles and urged students to reach out to their university accommodation teams for assistance, which is again, expensive and limited!
If you already have your heart set on studying in the UK we suggest you add accommodation to your checklist right after sorting out your finances. Granted, that is not the time you would like to plan your housing but we highly advise you to do so! If you plan your accommodation well in advance, you have a good chance of beating the incoming freshmen’s price surge. For first-year undergraduates it is often easy to sign up for university dorm rooms but not so much for graduate students.
If you’re not a fan of the idea of bunking in a 12×20 dorm room with a stranger, know that there are better options. Ask our expert how you can get affordable student accommodation near your campus, it’s on the house!
Now if you don’t have your heart set on studying in the UK we would like to pitch US. The United States is the home ground for world-class education with an impressive ROI. Did you know that graduate salaries in the US grew even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic? That’s a reminder that a degree in the US is always a good idea!
If you are struggling with any aspect of your study abroad journey, give us a call, we are right here (since 1993).