Students: Housing

Department for Education written question – answered on 19 May 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students are currently living in on-campus accommodation at (1) colleges and (2) universities; of these, how many are (a) UK students (b) EU students, and (c) non-EU international students; how many are minors; and whether those students are housed in adequately maintained conditions and have access to the basic facilities they require.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Statistics on the numbers of further and higher education (HE) students resident in on-campus accommodation following 23 March’s lockdown are not held centrally.

However, Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data show that approximately 360,000 students at UK higher education institutions in 2018/19 were resident in provider-maintained property, including some 117,000 international students, of which 31,000 were from the EU.

Levels of current occupancy of accommodation vary widely between different institutions with those students still resident likely to include care leavers, students estranged from their families and international students for whom there is no alternative accommodation easily available or who are not able to get home because of travel restrictions.

HE providers have been asked to aim to ensure staff (catering, cleaning and laundry staff, for instance) are available to support on halls management. Counselling staff should also be available to support on isolating students’ mental health. This support could be provided virtually.

We have worked to improve joint continuity planning between HE providers and Local Resilience Forums to consider how to ensure availability of supply of food and medicines.

College campus accommodation where children are resident is inspected by Ofsted against national minimum standards. The inspections are conducted on an age basis and include international students.

Ofsted holds a record of ratings for further education accommodation.

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