LSE Accommodation Fees Rise as Value for Money Rating Falls

Accommodation fees across most LSE student halls have increased by approximately 3% this year, despite student satisfaction that halls are value for money dropping by 1% last year.

The cost of living in LSE accommodation has been steadily rising over the last 4 years.

This year, 2018/19, the cost for a single room in High Holborn is either £10,666.25 or £11,156.50. Last year, a single refurbished room would have cost students £10,348.25 or £10,825.25. The charge for what is categorised simply as a ‘single room’ in High Holborn in 2017/18 was below £10,000.

In Passfield, the cheapest available room in 2016/17 cost £5,623.20, in 2017/18, £5,793.60 and this year £6002.70, a clear increase.

The cost for Bankside’s single ensuite rooms has also increased. A room that cost £8,851.00 in 2017/18 has risen this year to £9,116.00. However, the single room charge decreased from £8,016.25 to £7,963.25, though the common room fee per term has increased by £5. This is a small change in the grand scheme of things. In 2015/16, only three years earlier, a single room would have cost students £7,552.50.

The increase in fees also affects postgraduate students. In Butler’s Wharf Residence, a double room this year is costing graduate students £11,272.70 (per room). Last year, this same room would have cost £10,574.70 (per room).

The maximum student loan for postgraduate students is £10,609, raising questions of affordability as most accommodation cost more than that, plus living costs.

Previous years’ accommodation fees are not available on the LSE website.

Value for money

According to the Accommodation Satisfaction Survey 2017-18, only 79 per cent of residents felt that their residence offers good value for money, a fall of 1% from the previous year’s survey.

79% of students polled in 2017/18 agreed that their residence offers good value for money, in comparison to 80% in the previous year.

High Holborn students polled the lowest in the question of value for money, with only 57% of students satisfied with what they were offered. It also offers an interesting dichotomy that one of the priciest halls offers the least student satisfaction.

Across halls, there was a general lack of satisfaction with group study areas, with fewer that 50% of students saying they were satisfied in with the facilities in most halls. IT services also ranked poorly, alongside laundry and toilet facilities.

Student Voice

Ashley Layo Masing, a second year Sociology student, said of the cost of accommodation: “Various social costs needs to be taken into account i.e. to live further away means spending more money on transport. For international students, set contracts are useful in that we aren’t required to pay rent for the whole year.”

Christina, a second year International Relations student said: “[I] lived in a triple in Passfield, [it] was cheap and [I] met my best friends, but after a while I became less than content to share a bathroom and a kitchen with the 50 or so people on my floor, [a] bunch of egg stealing, bagel eating gremlins. Overall though, I think I got what I paid for.”

LSE’s Response

In response to questions about the motivations for residence fee increases, an LSE spokesperson said: “Accommodation fees are reviewed annually taking into account inflation, the cost of running each hall, the demand for places and the rental levels locally. This is discussed at the School’s Finance Committee and approved by the School’s Council – both of which include student representation.

“For the past two years, there has been an average three per cent rise across all halls and all room types but certain room types may be frozen in any given year. For example, prices for rent in shared rooms in undergraduate halls were frozen for three consecutive years from 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018.”

To support students, an LSE spokesperson told The Beaver that “Overall, the School financial support budget is inflated by four per cent each year.

“LSE Residential Services has also recently created accommodation bursaries to support those on the lowest household incomes. These are additional funds for first year students, to all those who are eligible for an LSE Bursary.  In 2017 Residential Services awarded £292,500 in accommodation bursaries. In 2018 they awarded £336,250 (an increase of 13%).”

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