Freshers left in limbo as Student Accommodation Centre struggles to cope and on-going building renovations mean students could be left without a room on campus.
Hundreds of Loughborough students do not know where they will be living when they arrive at University in less than three weeks time, Label can exclusively report. Renovations to Village Court are set to continue into the start of term and will leave minimal temporary accommodation available for those freshers who had Loughborough as their insurance choice.
The Village Court accommodation blocks, widely criticized by students for their inadequate living standards and even basic cleanliness in some cases, are normally the destination for all students who were not allocated a room before A-Level results day.
Summer refurbishments however have left staff at Imago Services unable to allocate rooms until the middle of next week for the simple reason that they don’t know how many will be finished in time.
The 344 students left in limbo were given four options. The first was to register a request for permanent hall accommodation. All but three students selected this as their first choice.
As there are only 113 permanent rooms available in Village Court, many will have to make do with second or even third choices. 220 have opted for a temporary room, either in Village Court or in the campus hotel, University Lodge.
A further 96 students have asked to be housed in private halls as their second preference, whether it be in Waterways or Printhouse, of which 109 rooms are available. All of these students have therefore been guaranteed their second option
While the final 22 students requested to be referred to a private landlord if permanent hall accommodation could not be found, Imago Services have said that they hope they will not have to got to such lengths as private landlord houses have not been a success in the past.
The Town Students’ Federation has been told to prepare a Freshers Week for between 75 and 300 students who are unable to be placed on campus, such a wide estimate being a mark of the confusion and uncertainty amongst Imago’s decision makers as to the exact figure that they will able to take on campus.
As late as last Friday, there were still around 100 students on the Student Accommodation books that had put down Loughborough as their first choice University. Under the agreement, all of those students will have been promised accommodation on campus. The Student Accommodation Centre confirmed, as of lunchtime yesterday, that all such students have been allocated rooms and the promise has been fulfilled.
Despite this, they have been receiving up to 1000 calls per day by concerned freshers and their parents who have been eager to find out what is happening, as the start of term draws ever closer. It would seem that Imago Services have found it difficult to cope, as some email enquiries have been left without reply for four weeks and callers made to wait on hold for lengthy periods of time.
These problems come just three months after Label reported on an extremely challenging twelve months for very same services organisation. You can read ‘Imago ignore the demands of students’ in last year’s final issue, here.
For the full report on the student accommodation chaos, including all of the opinions from freshers involved, returners, Imago Services and the Student Union, pick up Issue One of Label Magazine upon your arrival in Loughborough; distributed to halls, the Student Union, Edward Herbert Building, library and various locations in town.
Debbie Grant, Assistant Director of Imago Services, responded to this Label exclusive:
"The University has offered a number of additional places to students this year ahead of the student fee increases for 2012/13. This has meant an increase in demand for accommodation. In agreement with the Students Union and Registry, the Student Accommodation Centre is doing everything possible to accommodate these students on campus as this is felt to be an integral part of the famous 'Loughborough Experience'.
"Feedback from students in Village Court last year was that although the standard of accommodation was not as good as other halls, they had a great year and enjoyed being on the campus and benefitted from the reduced hall fee which imago had charged to reflect the standard of accommodation.
"The remaining students will be offered temporary accommodation or off campus halls affiliated to the newly reformed Town Students Federation which has offered support to these students. All students have been updated via the website on a regular basis and the call centre has been very quiet over the past week."
For the full report on the student accommodation chaos, including all of the opinions from freshers, returners, Imago Services and the Student Union, pick up Issue One of Label Magazine upon your arrival in Loughborough.
HAVE YOU BEEN AFFECTED? We want to hear your story!