Over the last few weeks, there has been national outrage among students after Shanowen Halls, student accommodation near DCU, announced a 23% increase in rent prices. It sparked the “Shanowen Shakedown”, where students staged a sleep-out outside the halls as a form of protest.

The 600 students who reside in the halls currently pay €7,000 per academic year, however from next semester the fees will rise to €9,000.

An increase of €2,000 is a huge amount, and unrealistic for students moving from the country. It will deeply affect them and their families, and if they are unable to find a cheaper alternative, possibly even put their college education at risk.

The fact that many young people are now in a position where they might not be able to go to college because it is way too expensive to live in Dublin is ridiculous. It is a disgrace that student accommodation is extorting money from students, profiting off their desperation for a place to live in Dublin.

With rents at an all-time high, in student accommodation and apartments, this could have detrimental effects on many young people’s ability to access third level education. Many young people are forced to move away from home in order to attend the college of their choice, but with the added cost of rent on top of college fees, it’s becoming impossible for some.

There are very few apartments available to rent for students at the moment, especially in Dublin. With the hiking prices of accommodation specifically for students, there area very limited number of places for students to stay. If they or their families can’t afford it, they may be forced to drop out of college completely.

Some students opt for digs – staying with a family in the local area. This is usually cheaper than student accommodation or renting an apartment; however many young people feel they would not be comfortable living with a family they don’t know, and many students have voiced their bad experiences with digs in the past.

With so much awareness and publicity created by the Shanowen Shakedown, accommodation companies’ extortionate prices will go unnoticed and unchallenged no longer. Pressure is now being put on them to provide affordable housing for students and hopefully after seeing how passionate students all over the county are about the issue, it could become a possibility in the near future.

Erica Carter