The Student Room Group
Chemistry Research, Durham University
Durham University
Durham
Visit website

Accomodation for a working class student?

So I attended the Durham offer holder open day and I loved it. I now have a better understanding of which colleges to apply to which is great, but I have one fear, accommodation. I've read many articles, which could just be fearmongering, stating how there is a real problem for working-class students in finding accommodation during their studies - is this a real issue?

I'm aware of the fact that in the first year accommodation is mostly guaranteed, but it is the second and third year I'm worried about. Anyone with first-hand experience, please help me out here 😭. Are there decent chances of me actually being sent off to Newcastle for accommodation or is this good old hyperbole?


Cheers
Reply 1
Hello, I am a third year student currently at Durham and unfortunately it is very true. Working class and low income students are being increasingly priced out of accommodation at Durham University. In 2023-2024, the colleges will increase the price by 10.3%, the highest increase which will cost nearly £10,000 per year in catered accommodation. There is a massive rush to find accommodation right at the beginning of the year. People are desperate and sign any house they are given, in November students camped out overnight estate agents in order to sign up for accommodation. First hand I can tell you walking to my 9am lectures in November people were queueing outside of the estate agents. On the public facebook page Overheard people are desperate to find anyone to sign a house with, calling for people to live with next year on Facebook with complete strangers.

https://www.palatinate.org.uk/outraged-and-priced-out-durham-university-criticised-for-9000-college-rent/#:~:text=The%20increase%20means%20that%20a,will%20be%20over%20%C2%A39000.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-63391102

Despite the maximum maintenance loan if you are from a low income household this is barely enough or sometimes not enough to pay your rent and food. My suggestion is that you will need to take a part time job alongside your studies. However, the good news is there are many part time job opportunities available at Durham, especially in the colleges. Colleges have a college bar, you can work in your college's catering and kitchen, you can be an offer holder or open day representative, and there are many restaurants / cafés in Durham that you can do 10-15 hours a week for. I currently work in my college's library and I do some social media engagement for Durham, about 10 hours a week maximum in my third year (workload is fine as long as you work every day on weekends / evenings).

I wouldn't say you would live in Newcastle (commuting every morning sounds unappealing) and the train station is a good 30 mins uphill walk away from the Bill Bryson library and the Science Site. However, you would probably need to look at finding accommodation a bit further afield, in Gilesgate (near the big Tesco) or in places like Croxhoe and Chester-leStreet and commute by bus for your lectures. Yes I agree there is some scaremongering or exaggeration but the cost of living crisis is completely true, everyone's rent (including those staying in the same properties) is increasing by a lot. In my opinion part of the "housing rush" is that people are renting through private landlords and are staying in the same property for the next academic year, so the house isn't being re-advertised through estate agents.

There are some loans and grants given by Durham University https://www.durham.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/fees-and-funding/durham-grant-scheme/ which may help if your family earns less than £25,000, and you meet other criteria like low postcode progression to university, black or asian ethnicity, you have free school meals and so on. Another factor will be if you like to drink alcohol and going out. Durham has a huge drink culture where people go to the clubs in Durham (Klute, Jimmy Allens, Babylon) a lot and buy alcohol there. Personally I am sober and I never go out for food or meals as eating out is so expensive, but that depends on your lifestyle. Much like Oxford and Cambridge, Durham colleges host many different formal dinner events and usually a ball once per term. The tickets to these can be expensive (sometimes £40-80 if you have the food or just entertainment). I don't attend any of these either due to the cost, but if the more Oxbridge side of Durham interests you as well with the traditions and wearing gowns these is an extra added cost, as well as purchasing a JCR membership to your college which is usually £80-100 per year.


Ultimately it is a big financial commitment to go to university. I would suggest if you cannot afford it this year to take a gap year and be able to save up, or make sure to have a part time job with your studies. If you do a BA degree you won't have laboratories or practicals that much etc so you will have less contact hours than a BSc or science degree so you should find time in your routine. Hope this is insightful :smile:
(edited 1 year ago)
Chemistry Research, Durham University
Durham University
Durham
Visit website
Reply 2
Original post by Ðeggs
Hello, I am a third year student currently at Durham and unfortunately it is very true. Working class and low income students are being increasingly priced out of accommodation at Durham University. In 2023-2024, the colleges will increase the price by 10.3%, the highest increase which will cost nearly £10,000 per year in catered accommodation. There is a massive rush to find accommodation right at the beginning of the year. People are desperate and sign any house they are given, in November students camped out overnight estate agents in order to sign up for accommodation. First hand I can tell you walking to my 9am lectures in November people were queueing outside of the estate agents. On the public facebook page Overheard people are desperate to find anyone to sign a house with, calling for people to live with next year on Facebook with complete strangers.

https://www.palatinate.org.uk/outraged-and-priced-out-durham-university-criticised-for-9000-college-rent/#:~:text=The%20increase%20means%20that%20a,will%20be%20over%20%C2%A39000.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-63391102

Despite the maximum maintenance loan if you are from a low income household this is barely enough or sometimes not enough to pay your rent and food. My suggestion is that you will need to take a part time job alongside your studies. However, the good news is there are many part time job opportunities available at Durham, especially in the colleges. Colleges have a college bar, you can work in your college's catering and kitchen, you can be an offer holder or open day representative, and there are many restaurants / cafés in Durham that you can do 10-15 hours a week for. I currently work in my college's library and I do some social media engagement for Durham, about 10 hours a week maximum in my third year (workload is fine as long as you work every day on weekends / evenings).

I wouldn't say you would live in Newcastle (commuting every morning sounds unappealing) and the train station is a good 30 mins uphill walk away from the Bill Bryson library and the Science Site. However, you would probably need to look at finding accommodation a bit further afield, in Gilesgate (near the big Tesco) or in places like Croxhoe and Chester-leStreet and commute by bus for your lectures. Yes I agree there is some scaremongering or exaggeration but the cost of living crisis is completely true, everyone's rent (including those staying in the same properties) is increasing by a lot. In my opinion part of the "housing rush" is that people are renting through private landlords and are staying in the same property for the next academic year, so the house isn't being re-advertised through estate agents.

There are some loans and grants given by Durham University https://www.durham.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/fees-and-funding/durham-grant-scheme/ which may help if your family earns less than £25,000, and you meet other criteria like low postcode progression to university, black or asian ethnicity, you have free school meals and so on. Another factor will be if you like to drink alcohol and going out. Durham has a huge drink culture where people go to the clubs in Durham (Klute, Jimmy Allens, Babylon) a lot and buy alcohol there. Personally I am sober and I never go out for food or meals as eating out is so expensive, but that depends on your lifestyle. Much like Oxford and Cambridge, Durham colleges host many different formal dinner events and usually a ball once per term. The tickets to these can be expensive (sometimes £40-80 if you have the food or just entertainment). I don't attend any of these either due to the cost, but if the more Oxbridge side of Durham interests you as well with the traditions and wearing gowns these is an extra added cost, as well as purchasing a JCR membership to your college which is usually £80-100 per year.


Ultimately it is a big financial commitment to go to university. I would suggest if you cannot afford it this year to take a gap year and be able to save up, or make sure to have a part time job with your studies. If you do a BA degree you won't have laboratories or practicals that much etc so you will have less contact hours than a BSc or science degree so you should find time in your routine. Hope this is insightful :smile:


I greatly appreciate such a comprehensive response, thanks! I was telling myself that this wasn't going to be an actual issue but you've made it clear that this is the reality! I suppose the one year of collegiate life and then the next two years spent 20 minutes away via bus is very doable! Maybe I should consider my Edinburgh offer for the firm choice instead, much to think about!

Cheers

Quick Reply

Latest