Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Student Accommodation

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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170. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he has been in discussions with the University of Limerick in relation to its approach to refund students for the cost of their accommodation during the Covid-19 crisis; the assistance or support that will be made available to students and their families in situations in which no refunds are provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5696/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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My Department is working with representatives from the higher education sector to address the challenges faced by students in this difficult time. I understand based on the information available to me that the majority of students in university-owned accommodation will receive pro-rata refunds if they have vacated their accommodation. 

I have called on the University of Limerick to join with the other universities and offer refunds to students who have left, however universities are autonomous bodies and its not within my remit to direct any institution to offer a refund. I understand that the issue is currently under consideration by UL, and that a decision will be made shortly.

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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171. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the new campus accommodation guidelines issued by the University of Limerick recently to third year students for 2020-2021 (details supplied); if he will contact the university to seek an explanation and justification for the change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5697/20]

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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172. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the new campus accommodation guidelines issued by the University of Limerick recently to third year students for 2020-2021 (details supplied); if he will contact the university to seek an explanation and justification for the change; if he will liaise with the university to determine if the new accommodation arrangements are in accordance with the relevant regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5699/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 and 172 together.

I am aware of the University of Limerick's intention to offer twin rooms as part of their on-campus accommodation. Based on the information available to me, I understand that this decision was made in order to increase the supply of accommodation available to students.

Universities are autonomous bodies under the meaning of the Universities Act 1997. Under this legislation the universities are entitled to regulate their own affairs and administrative processes. Neither I nor my Department have any function in relation to accommodation regulations, and it is not within my remit to become involved in the details of specific accommodation provision.

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