21 November, 2018 - National Student Accommodation Strategy

5,531 PBSA Bed Spaces Completed by end Q3, 2018  

Continued Progress towards Student Accommodation Goals  

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 Q3 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 Q3 2018: 

 5,531 PBSA bed spaces had been completed

 4,825 further bed spaces were under construction

 7,901 additional bed spaces had planning permission granted

 472 were at the planning permission application stage 

These projects combine to a total of 18,729 PBSA bed spaces. 

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. said, “In light of the impact that the housing and accommodation shortages have had on both students and their parents, I am particularly delighted to report that we now have over 5,000 extra bed spaces for students since the launch of this strategy. 

I remain committed to ensuring that the availability of accommodation is not a factor in a student’s choice of where to study. Since the end of July an additional 2,541 bed spaces have been made available for this academic year. Not only does this mean that over 5,000 students have now been accommodated safely, but that the strategy is working.” 

Minister of State Damien English T.D. said, “I am pleased to note that in excess of 5,500 bed spaces have been completed. Although student accommodation is not included in the official statistics for housing completions, every one of these beds brings relief to the housing market generally. Each one of these bed spaces frees up properties in the general rental market. 

Under Rebuilding Ireland we are committed to providing 25,000 homes per annum and we are making excellent progress in this regard. The figure for student accommodation will be in addition to this and will contribute to bringing some stability to the market. 

Notes for the Editor  

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 and ran to the end of September. The campaign is designed to highlight 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 

The HEA Student Accommodation Development Activity Report – September 2018 is available here: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/student-accommodation-development-activity-september-2018.pdf 

The Quarter 3 2018 Progress Report on the National Student Accommodation Strategy is available here:  https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/national-student-accommodation-strategy-progress-report-quarter-3-2018.pdf