The state could step in to build more student accommodation on campuses to bring down rents, according to Higher Education Minister Simon Harris.
r Harris said if building permits and land owned by universities could be used it would lead to a “very significant” increase in student accommodation.
He hinted that a similar intervention could be set up as the €450 million Crói Cónaithe (Cities) government fund, where developers will get up to €144,000 to build an apartment.
“We have seen the state make decisions to intervene where there has been what is called a market failure, where there has been no capacity to build apartments,” he said. declared.
“Is it possible to change or come up with a new model where the state actually supports our higher education sector in building more housing?
“If we do, I think we could see a very significant increase in the supply of student accommodation.”
Minister Harris said he is currently working on proposals with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and they will be presented to the next Cabinet sub-committee on housing.
He also said the whole of government supports such a move because it would mean that students are not renting houses, which could instead be used to house families.
“What we need to try to do is come up with a model where we can provide enough on-campus accommodation over time so that students who are currently competing with a family and a few kids to rent a house semi-detached with three beds or a three. a semi bed can actually be freed up to go live in student accommodation,” he said.
Minister Harris was speaking as he announced increases to the limits of money students can earn during the summer months to still be eligible for the SUSI scholarship.