Students 'drop out' in Aberystwyth over housing
Students returning to Aberystwyth University are facing a housing crisis which is forcing some to drop out, it has been claimed.
Aberystwyth Guild of Students said a surge in student numbers since 2007 had put pressure on the private housing sector which could not meet demand.
In 2008, more than 50 freshers were placed in hotels and guest houses temporarily after record recruitment.
The university said it was closely monitoring the accommodation situation.
The guild said through three solid years of recruitment and guaranteed accommodation for first year students, it had seen a decline in the number of returning students allowed back into halls of residence.
It said this had "directed increased pressure on a private sector housing market that cannot handle the increased numbers of students".
It argued that problems encountered by freshers in 2008 had been shifted onto those returning to the town.
Guild president Jon Antoniazzi said 80 students were currently without accommodation, while 25 had asked for forms to withdraw temporarily from their course or to drop out completely.
He said: "The private sector housing stock for students ran out in January and has left students desperate for accommodation. We are now seeing a surge in students looking at taking temporary withdrawal or dropping out from university completely.
"Through three solid years of recruitment and guaranteed accommodation for first year students we have seen a decline in the number of returning students allowed back into Aberystwyth University halls of residence.
"This has directed increased pressure on a private sector housing market that cannot handle the increased numbers of students.
'Stress and anxiety'
"The problem of housing students has shifted from the first year student onto the returner, leaving some students without proper housing for this academic year."
Mr Antoniazzi said there were "undue levels of stress and anxiety" placed on students to find accommodation in the final days before the start of term.
He added that the university's recruitment target for next year should consider the strain placed on returning students' housing needs.
The university said it was closely monitoring the situation, both in its halls and in the private sector.
A spokesman added: "Students who have rented houses and may have individual rooms to let due to changes in circumstances are also being encouraged to post information on the accommodation office notice board, which is in the Penbryn reception.
"The university has encouraged returning students who have not yet secured accommodation for the new academic year to make contact, so that they can be informed of new accommodation vacancies when the university becomes aware of them."
The university's accommodation office can be contacted on 01970 622984.
A list of vacancies in the private sector is available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/residential/en/accommodation/private.shtml