Colleges have lowered the cost of campus accommodation for the first time in decades with students due to spend less time there, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Trinity College Dublin is the only university to increase rent costs due to an extra four days on campus as semester one has been extended.
However, Dublin City University (DCU), University College Dublin (UCD), University College Cork (UCC) and the University of Limerick (UL) have all lowered campus rents.
Maynooth University (MU) and National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) did not lower their costs and kept rents the same price for the coming academic year as they were for the 2019/2020 academic year.
None of the Irish universities have ruled out rent hikes for the 2021/2022 academic year.
The university to lower rents by the most has been the University of Limerick, with an eight-bedroom house in Plassey village now costing 8pc less than it did last year.
A five, six or seven-bedroom apartment in Troy, off campus, will now cost 7.8pc less than it did last year and a six-bedroom flat in Drumroe will cost 7.3pc less. First-year undergraduate students will spend one in three weeks on campus and all other students will spend one in four weeks on campus in the first semester.
UCC slashed their rents by 5.3pc after hiking them by up to 11.5pc last year, with an ensuite bedroom in Victoria Lodge now costing €5,746.
DCU cut its St Patrick’s and Larkfield accommodation by 2pc and UCD cut the cost of its campus rents by 1.6pc.
UCD cut its costs by the smallest amount and remains to have on offer the most expensive campus accommodation in the country – Roebuck Castle, which will now cost €11,317 for the academic year, despite a 2.4pc reduction.
“Student accommodation rents for trimester one reflect the later start to the academic year,” said a spokesperson for the university.
While rents were hiked in NUIG, after student discontent, the college is now offering a rebate system where students will pay increased rents for accommodation but will receive 3pc or 4pc back.
“In the face of the current challenging financial context faced by our students, NUI Galway has agreed to provide a rebate to students in university accommodation equivalent to the planned 3pc-4pc increase in the rental cost of on-campus student accommodation for the Academic Year 2020/21,” a spokesperson said.
“Therefore the rents are the same for the 2019/20 academic year.”
TCD has raised rents for the coming academic year by up to €100 per annum due to semester one now being four days longer. Goldsmith Hall will cost €95 extra, Pearse Street €75 and GMB an extra €100 in the 2020/2021 academic year as semester one, which last year was 16 weeks and six days long, is now 17 weeks and five days long.
Semester two last year was 17 weeks and three days long, while it now will be 17 weeks and one day long, resulting in an extra four days on campus.
“Our weekly room rates for 2020/2021 are unchanged from 2019/2020. Any variation is the result of changes in the length of the semesters (for instance Semester 1, which usually ends in December, will extend into January 2021),” said a TCD spokesperson.
On-campus accommodation is now included in Rent Pressure Zones legislation, which means rents cannot increase by more than 4pc annually.
Prior to the legislation kicking in, an Irish Independent survey found that colleges increased costs by up to 11.5pc for the 2019/2020 academic year.