100,000 may have remained in student accommodation during lockdown, says CUBO survey

Roughly half of students remaining in their term-time university accommodation are international

Over 100,000 students may have been living in their student accommodation during lockdown, according to a new survey.

Professional association College & University Business Officers (CUBO) conducted a snapshot survey of UK universities on 20 May 2020, to which 42% responded.

Those 69 universities reported a total of 43,495 students still living in on-campus accommodation, almost 11 weeks since the UK’s coronavirus lockdown began, equating to a mean of 630 per institution. However, the numbers of students remaining in situ at individual universities ranged widely from 0 to 4,000.

The percentage of international students within the numbers remaining also varied considerably from provider to provider – from 1% to 86% – averaging out at 52%.

Also among those reported as still residing in term-time accommodation are 76 minors, and 4,224 EU students, equating to about 10% of the total.

Catering is now provided mainly in take-away form or via online shops, with a knock and drop service or similar for those who are self-isolating – Jan Capper, CUBO

“While this is a snapshot, it does suggest that more than 100,000 students may have remained in university-managed, purpose-built student accommodation during the lockdown,” said Jan Capper, CEO of CUBO.

“Universities are providing essential services to these students, including ramped-up cleaning, ongoing maintenance of buildings, and security.

“Catering is now provided mainly in take-away form or via online shops, with a knock and drop service or similar for those who are self-isolating.

“Welfare support and residence life services, both vital for student wellbeing, have both moved online and we have seen universities adapt fast and provide excellent information and support to those still in their residences.”

Students have remained in their student accommodation during lockdown for a variety of reasons, including international travel restrictions, estrangement from home, personal choice and UK government guidelines to “stay home” during lockdown.


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