Written answers

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Student Accommodation

Photo of Rose Conway-WalshRose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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107. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has co-funded higher education institution owned student accommodation in 2020 or 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [60611/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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I’m acutely aware of the challenges facing students in securing accommodation this year, and my Department and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage are working closely together to address these issues.

The shortage of accommodation for students is happening in the context of the wider housing crisis.

In September the Government published Housing For All, a comprehensive plan which sets out the series of actions to be undertaken to fix the housing system. It has the largest ever housing budget in the history of the State. It aims to transform our housing system, with in excess of €20bn in funding provided through the Exchequer, the Land Development Agency (LDA) and the Housing Finance Agency over the next five years to support these actions. My Department is working with the Department of Housing to support the implementation of this plan. A key part of this work is ensuring that our HEIs have access to the financing necessary to build affordable student accommodation.

In 2017 legislation was commenced which empowered the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) to lend directly to HEIs for the development of student accommodation. So far three universities - TCD, UCC and UCD have had a total of €157 million in loans approved by the HFA, which will provide more than 1,400 new student bed spaces.

In June I, along with my colleagues the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, announced that €75 million of financing had been successfully sourced for the Council of Europe Bank for the building of student accommodation in universities.

I am conscious that, there are currently barriers to IoTs and TUs accessing the type of financing that is available to the traditional universities. Housing For All contains a commitment to support technological universities to develop purpose-built student accommodation where such a requirement exists.

My Department and I are continuing to work with colleagues in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and our HEIs to support them in progressing student accommodation plans.


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