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Dear Principal,

I am writing to you to express my concerns over the current accommodation situation affecting returning students. This year, more returning students have been refused a place in hall accommodation than ever. Such a situation, combined with the continuous shortage of accommodation in the private sector, the high prices of rents in town overall and the lack of financial support to offset the burden of housing costs, is a great source of worry among the student population. While the university has faced soaring numbers of applications, it is undesirable that such a situation come to the detriment of current students. Stemming from the impact of the Universitys admissions policies, safeguarding places for returning students has not been prioritized, leaving many students feel marginalized by the Universitys decisions. Given the scale of our town and accommodation facilities, the Universitys role in housing issues is central. Pressure on housing in St Andrews is higher than ever, resulting in a reduced number of options available to students when searching for housing. Students find themselves under great stress, being forced to take time out of our studies to dedicate to a very tiresome search for accommodation. Many students are unable to secure accommodation in town, and they have to settle in nearby towns and villages, when they might have preferred to stay more closely connected to the buzzing student community. Accommodation is the largest student expense, often exceeding the student loan, and St Andrews is one of the most expensive towns to live in the UK. The Accommodation Bursaries Fund available for next year has been expanded but bursaries are only available to students with a place in university residences, implying that such a support is disproportionately skewed towards entrant students. While students frequently struggle to find affordable accommodation in the private sector, financial support to offset the cost of housing available to students renting privately is greatly lacking. Given the serious challenges faced with regards to housing at St Andrews, it is unreasonable to expect students to be able to adjust to changes affecting them, levying the responsibility to find accommodation under any circumstances onto them. It is desirable that the needs of all students be factored in the Universitys decisions, devising fair and sustainable policies for all.

As much as it is my hope that you will share my frustration, I urge you to explore measures in which the current situation could be alleviated. Furthermore, I propose the University search for ways in which the high cost of housing in St Andrews could be addressed, through liaising with the private sector as well as seeking to provide more affordable options with regards to university accommodation. Given the pressing nature of issues, I consider it fundamental for the University to make provisions for returning students, seeking to extend accommodation bursaries onto students staying at privately rented properties. Putting student welfare as a priority is what is to be expected of a leading and progressive university. I have faith that your team will address current pressing issues in timely manner and devise long-term strategies to deliver positive results.

Yours faithfully