A students’ union has urgently pleaded with householders to let out a room to students in order to prevent what it calls a “higher education catastrophe.”
The University College Dublin (UCD) students’ union said that an increasing number of third-level students’ on-campus experiences are “at risk” as a result of the “failure of successive Governments” to address this issue.
The union started a “digs drive” on Monday morning, asking Dublin homeowners to offer their extra rooms to students in September if they are able to do so.
In response to the accommodation shortage, the union has arranged a mass leaflet drop in areas close to UCD and those well-connected by public transport.
UCDSU President Molly Greenough said they are urging homeowners to consider housing a student under the Rent-a-Room Relief scheme.
“A safe, affordable roof over a student’s head will empower them to excel in their academic pursuits, get involved with social life, and develop into people who can contribute to Irish society,” she said.
“We are urgently appealing to homeowners to consider housing a UCD student under the Rent-A-Room Relief scheme ahead of this academic year,” she said.
Ms. Greenough also called for a meaningful cut to the Student Contribution Charge this year.
“Putting money directly back into the pockets of students and their families represents the most appropriate emergency measure,” she said.
“A cut of just €500 would only cover about a fortnight’s rent with an overwhelming majority of purpose-built student accommodation providers. We would like to see the Minister go much further and make a meaningful cut, allowing students to decide for themselves how to make the best of a really bad situation,” Ms Greenough said.
Simon Harris, the minister of further and higher education, advised individuals this week to take advantage of the Rent-a-Room Relief, which enables people to earn up to €14,000 tax-free, in order to aid students throughout the nation in finding housing.