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National Student Accommodation Strategy

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The Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English T.D. today released the end Q2 2018 progress report on the National Student Accommodation Strategy. The National Student Accommodation Strategy complements the initiatives being taken by the Minister for Housing to increase housing supply under Rebuilding Ireland.

The National Student Accommodation Strategy (NSAS) includes 8 key targets and 27 actions to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) and an increase in take-up of digs accommodation. The target as set out in the NSAS is the provision of 7,000 bed spaces by end 2019 and a total of 21,000 additional PBSA beds by 2024. We remain on track to meet, if not exceed, this number.

As of the end Q2 2018:

· 2,990 PBSA bed spaces had been completed

· 7,257 further bed spaces were under construction

· 7,154 additional bed spaces had planning permission granted

· 1,209 were at the planning permission application stage

These projects combine to a total of 18,610 PBSA bed spaces. 5,423 of these will be complete, or are due for completion, by the end of 2018.

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. said “Students and parents have been heavily impacted by housing and accommodation shortages, particularly so in the context of the high demand for accommodation around our Colleges, Institutes of Technology and Universities – in light of this it is heartening to see that there is a healthy pipeline of student accommodation projects in train. Access to accommodation is a crucial factor in access to, and continued participation in, higher education.

Constructing additional accommodation will have long term benefits in moderating rent levels. In the short term I would also encourage people to consider renting a spare room to a college student and availing of the rent-a-room scheme. Whereby individuals can earn €14,000 tax free per annum for renting a room in their home. This would not only provide an alternative source of accommodation for students, but is also a potential income for parents and others who may have a spare room available.”

Minister of State Damien EnglishT.D. said “These latest figures are further evidence that increased supply of purpose built student accommodation continues to be delivered for this important segment of the housing market.

In particular, I am delighted that the specific planning measures delivered through the Rebuilding Ireland strategy, such as planning applications for student accommodation being made directly to An Bord Pleanala, are contributing to the continuing pipeline of future student accommodation projects that will be built in Ireland.“

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The National Student Accommodation Strategy (NSAS) is a key action in the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. Launched in July 2017, it was developed by the Department of Education and Skills together with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, as well as key stakeholders to introduce measures to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).

Currently, all indicators point to a significant increase in full-time students attending publicly funded Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) for the next decade. In terms of increased demand, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) has previously indicated the potential for the number of full-time enrolments in DES-aided HEIs to increase by 27% by 2030.

The NSAS is designed to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of PBSA by reducing planning barriers for public and private sector developers of student accommodation and seeking to address financing barriers for our HEIs. The NSAS also complements the various initiatives being taken by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to increase housing supply.

Another key action of this strategy is to encourage the uptake of traditional student accommodation in private homes – Digs accommodation – which will help alleviate the shortage of student beds and to provide choice to students in the short-term. Funding has been provided by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Housing Planning and local Government to USI to finance a Student Housing Officer, to support the #homesforstudy campaign and provide training for Student Accommodation Officers.

The 2018 USI #HomesforStudy campaign was launched on the 25th June. It highlights the ability of homeowners to earn up to €14,000 tax free under the rent-a-room scheme and provides a platform on which homeowners can advertise available beds. Further details are available at http://homes.usi.ie/

The National Student Accommodation Strategy is available at http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/National-Student-Accommodation-Policy.pdf

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