St John's College Oxford

Professor William Whyte authors report on university halls for the Higher Education Policy Institute

Date 15 November 2019

The Revd Professor William Whyte, Tutorial Fellow in History, discussed the ways in which Universities have changed their accommodation provision in recent years in order to appeal to both students and parents.

Reverend Professor William WhyteProfessor Whyte suggested that universities are building luxurious new halls of residence to attract students and impress their parents, who may have grown to expect a more high-end experience as a result of higher fees, but argued that institutions are often not providing enough alternatives in the form of more affordable accommodation. As a result, Professor Whyte warns that many students may soon be priced out of living on campus thanks to the rising average weekly cost of halls, which has increased by 31% since 2011.

The report warns that not only is this leading to students spending a large amount of money on paying for their accommodation (now over 70% of their average annual spending), but also that newer ‘en-suite’ style rooms make it harder for students to interact in the ways previously afforded by shared facilities and common rooms, which could lead to more feelings of isolation. Professor Whyte said, ‘there is a growing sense that people’s wellbeing at university is not helped by living isolated lives’. 

" Increasingly people are coming to see the value of the old hall model with shared facilities, [...] dining rooms and common rooms " Revd Professor William Whyte