By Matthew Proctor
Cardiff University’s profit from accommodation services has risen for the third consecutive year to reach £3.65 million in 2015.
In an address to university staff, Mike Davies, the finance director at Cardiff University, claimed the institution routinely made a ‘good profit’. To put £3.65million into perspective, that figure is more than what the Students’ Union spent on all of its services (sport, societies etc) last year and equates to £530 per fresher.
Over the last five years, Cardiff University has made a record £18million from students by taking more in rent than what they spend on maintenance and improvement to halls. Residences also gain additional revenue from non-students through conferences and events, income which also peaked last year at £650,000. With non-student revenue also included, the residences have made £19.9million from 2011 to 2015 for the university’s cash box.
The increase in profits have come from both increasing student numbers and increasing the income per student. Overall income from students has risen consistently above inflation during the past five years, leading some to question how the university can justify continuously raising prices.
One third-year student commented: “It’s a bit of an outrage how much they’re making, especially when you’re in first year trying to find your feet financially.”
Whilst Cardiff residences still remain cheap compared with other cities, the potential savings of moving out of accommodation can usually be in excess of £500 a year, emphasising the low cost of renting in Cardiff.
It is not, however, just Cardiff University that seems to be milking the undergraduate cash cow. University residences across the country are being used to generate additional revenue for university finances, as traditional funding streams dry up and competition for cash increases.
Rent strike, the action of withholding some of your rent until your landlord meets your demands, have made a successful comeback at London Universities. Over 1000 Students from UCL, Goldman’s and other London institutions engaged in a successful rent strike earlier this year, with UCL eventually promising a rent freeze for the upcoming year and less expensive beds for poorer students. Nationally, university rent strikes are now being organised and supported by the NUS. But Cardiff’s Students’ Union has yet to come out in favour of direct action.
Student group Cardiff Cut The Rent, established to help solve these issues, is holding its inaugural meeting at the Talybont Social on Monday the 10th of October at 7pm.