Clearing students are urged to shop around as 132 universities make courses available to those without confirmed higher-education offers - but the real question is: where are they going to live?
As students across the country anxiously await their A-Level results this week, latest research shows that there are thousands of university clearing places up for grabs. In total, 132 of 148 universities in the UK are advertising clearing courses through UCAS. Among the top 20 performing universities in the UK, 14 of them have at least one course advertised on the clearing site, with 3,048 courses potentially available.
Despite the array of courses available, the same can’t be said about student accommodation in some areas. StudentTenant.com, the national student letting service, have outlined their clearing university ‘top picks’ based on the accommodation that is available. They have also highlighted problem areas, and they are urging students to speak with these particular universities regarding accommodation before securing a place there.
Top clearing universities to secure accommodation
By far, the best city for student accommodation availability and university ranking is London. The capital city boasts an impressive 2,242 student properties available to book in central London; the most student property dense city in the UK. Both King’s College London, the second highest ranking university offering clearing placements, and Queen Mary University of London feature in the top twenty universities for clearing, and there’s plenty of university accommodation to go around.
Other notable university cities for student accommodation and university ranking include Manchester. The University of Manchester offers 291 clearing places and 1,190 student properties.
The University of Southampton ranked 15 in the UK also has a lot to offer. The university has 345 clearing places with over 900 student properties still available, so this should also be high on students clearing priority list.
Also the University of Kent in Canterbury has 342 clearing places on offer, and has over 393 student properties.
Danielle Cullen, Managing Director of StudentTenant.com says, “The perception of the university experience needs to go beyond ranking, and how fun that university city might be. Whilst nobody wants to think about the boring logistics, students need to be more aware of accommodation as a key part of their decision making if they opt to secure a place through clearing.”
“Obviously it’s hugely important as a student to make sure the next 3 years of your life are worth it, by choosing a course that will be relevant and respected. However, it’s certainly not worth living miserably in a shabby house miles away from the action, where you’ll ultimately be unhappy!”
“I would strongly advise any students to carry out an accommodation search before accepting any clearing place. If there is a stark undersupply, speak to the university in question about your options - will they have any on-campus accommodation available, or what are the alternatives?” Danielle added “We work very closely with many university accommodation teams, and while there are a variety of different resources across the institutions, they are all very willing to help - so do get in touch with them.”
Whilst there is clearing availability at many universities across the UK, not all of the university cities offer students the luxury of somewhere to live.
Hundreds of places, but are there enough spaces?
The University of York, ranked 17th in the UK, advertises 199 clearing courses including computer science, ecology and linguistics. However, the university city only has 3 off-campus student properties in the area advertised across the major property portals.
Danielle Cullen, Managing Director at StudentTenant.com comments, “I must say I am quite concerned about the accommodation situation in some university cities. The university in York for example is advertising up to 199 clearing spaces, yet there is some uncertainty about whether there will be enough accommodation to meet demand. They will likely offer university managed spaces, but there is no confirmation of whether or not there will be enough. Any overspill into the private-sector will become a big issue.
“Universities across the UK need to do more to help students find accommodation in these situations. If they cannot guarantee somewhere to live, they should consider restricting their intake to ensure that everyone can have adequate housing. Now there is no cap on how many students a university can recruit, something needs to be done to monitor and oversee the additional needs such as housing, and how these welfare concerns are addressed.
“Whilst a university’s core purpose is to provide students with a higher level of education, there are many elements that run alongside that, such as having a safe place to live.”
Other notable university cities in the top twenty with limited student properties include the University of Warwick, which has 154 clearing courses and 22 student properties advertised, the University of Exeter which has 207 courses and 77 properties, and the University of Glasgow’s 410 courses and 244 properties advertised.
Danielle continues, “Students who are going through the clearing process need to ensure that they move quickly to guarantee themselves accommodation. It’s expected that there will be thousands going through clearing again this year, and they will all be desperate to book last-minute accommodation.
“We always recommend to our student customers that where possible, they book a viewing as soon as they can. If they like the property, book it as soon as is practically possible. We’re expecting a huge number of viewings on all of our properties over the next couple of weeks, so they could be booked by someone else if you’re not quick. You will usually need a guarantor to book any form of accommodation - it’s wise to have someone ready to fill in the necessary paperwork so there won’t be any unnecessary delays.
“Whilst you have to be prompt, it’s also very important to make sure you are happy with the property and contract as they are usually fixed for up to 12 months. Take advice from friends and family who have been through the lettings process before, and get as much information as possible before making a commitment.”