Colleges are now undertaking the usual process for allocating rooms for returning students.
The University has approved a 10.3% increase in both accommodation and catering charges. As you will be aware, the University is experiencing rises in our operating costs in the current economic climate. We have tried to keep increases to our accommodation and catering charges as low as possible, and to make sure that college-managed accommodation remains competitively priced in relation to private accommodation in Durham City. The University has an agreement with the Students’ Union that accommodation and catering charges will increase by no more than inflation (RPI) each year. This year, mindful of the exceptionally high rates of inflation, we have worked hard to keep the increases in accommodation and catering charges to 3.1% below the latest RPI figure. The increases to our accommodation and catering charges will not cover the rises in our operating costs.
For any students still unable to find a room for next academic year, there will be a contact email available from Monday 13 February to provide support and guidance in finding accommodation.
The university is aware of the pressures of cost of living on students and is investing significantly in the Durham Grant Scheme, supporting students from low-income families. The Scheme has been increased by 10% this year and will increase by up to 13.6% in academic year 2023/24. This means that from next academic year, home undergraduates who do not already have an undergraduate degree and who have a household income of less than £30,000 as assessed by Student Finance England (or equivalent) will receive a Durham Grant of £2,500. Similar students, who have a household income of between £30,001 and £47,200, will receive a Durham Grant of between £2,495 and £780.
Overall, we are investing an additional £600,000 in the Durham Grant Scheme this year, with an additional investment of £900,000 next year. This will take our annual spend on the Durham Grant Scheme to c.£7.5 million next year. The Durham Grant is payable in addition to government funding, and eligible students do not have to pay it back.
In addition, the University offers to all students who need to bridge financial gaps support grants of up to £6,000 per annum on a planned or urgent basis. We are in discussion with student leaders about the best way to promote and target these grants.
We also have instant access funds for students in urgent need of financial assistance. These funds allow students to obtain shopping and catering vouchers, or cash.
We will continue to invest in measures to support students. There are already a number of other initiatives available, including free breakfast clubs and the ‘Too Good to Go’ surplus food scheme. Full details can be found on the Cost of Living Hub: Cost of Living Hub - Durham University.
Students who are experiencing difficulties should contact their College in the first instance, where they will find support.