Every year the dreaded accommodation discussion is at the forefront of every student and parent’s minds.
The housing crisis has been existing in the minds of the students who attend the University of Galway for a while now but are especially at the forefront for the new entrants of 2022 and the returning students.
With many still without accommodation at the start of the academic year this is a stressful and tense time for any returning or new students to the University.
Students at the University of Galway who have secured accommodation are experiencing the harsh effects of the housing crisis this year with their rent increasing causing students not to be able to afford to live.
Some are choosing between food or being able to pay rent for the month. Affordability is as much of an issue in Galway as it is in Dublin for many.
Access to accommodation has become a barrier to higher education.
Talking to a recent school leaver who has accepted a place in the University of Galway, explains that it was impossible to find accommodation in Galway and is going to commute everyday by bus from his hometown.
Students are now missing out on the chance to grow and experience the trials and triumphs of living away from home. They miss out on proper connections with people and may become isolated.
Going to college was once a thrilling and momentous occasion where families declared how proud they were of their child.
For many it has become more of a nuisance due to the lack of accommodation and the price of rent.
This notion has forced students to commute long distances which require early mornings and late nights or sleep on floors or couches.
Imogen O’Flaherty Falconer , Vice President for Welfare says: “This crisis is not unprecedented, we’ve known it’s been coming”.
Imogen highlights the government’s lack of action and interest in the housing crisis for students.
“[This is] a complete disaster and we’ve been walking headfirst into it, we are seeing students in crisis mode every day facing the decision of either staying in college and being homeless or dropping out.
“It’s very frustrating to watch people in power just outright refuse to take responsibility for something they are directly responsible for,” she said.
From Imogen’s insight as the Students’ Union’s Welfare Officer, accessing higher education is getting increasingly harder and adding stress and heartache for students.
Seeing so many students without accommodation weeks into a new academic year begs the question; is college worth all this stress? And for many people, it seemingly is not.