Brexit report

Students still paying rent despite online lectures

MANY local students are still facing huge accommodation bills for the year ahead, even though classes are going to be all online for the foreseeable future. 
This academic year has already been a rollercoaster for the county’s school leavers, who not only faced the most disruptive and controversial exam season in living memory due to the Covid crisis, but are now the first generation to be starting off their life in third-level virtually. 
However, despite the fact many students will not be on campus during the coming semester and classes will instead be streamed online, many are still being told they must pay for a full year of university-owned accommodation. 
This is required if they want to secure their place for the second semester, when many universities are hoping to have students back on site. 
This is an issue that is particularly impacting Fermanagh students beginning their university courses, said Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh who raised at the September meeting of the Council, as first years often rely on in-house accommodation more than older students. 
“First year students at universities are basically being prevented from studying at home, even though all the courses are going to be online, by the fact the universities concerned are actually requiring them to pay for a year of accommodation up front,” said Cllr O’Cofaigh. 
Calling for the accommodation places to be held for students until the second semester, Cllr O’Cofaigh said that for now it would be safer for students to study from home, which they would prefer. 
Cllr O’Cofaigh proposed the Council would write to the Minister for the Economy, as well as both Ulster University and Queen’s University, to request they be flexible with their accommodation provision to allow students to learn remotely where possible

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