What kind of accommodation do Nottingham’s students prefer and why? Those are the questions answered in a new survey published this week, the biggest of its kind in recent years.
Around 5,300 students at The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University responded to an online questionnaire about their accommodation choices. It was commissioned by the student housing charity Unipol, both universities, the two Students’ Unions, Nottingham City Council and Broxtowe Borough Council. The aim of the survey was to find out what students think about the range and quality of housing available to them in Nottingham and why they prefer particular types of accommodation. It also sheds light on the extent to which students in private housing feel part of the surrounding community.
The results show that most students think ‘less is more’ rather than ‘big is beautiful’ with just over two thirds preferring to live in private rented houses instead of larger developments (defined as those housing ten or more students).
The main attractions for those choosing a private rented house or flat were the independent lifestyle it allows and control over who they share with. Popular features were large bedrooms, roomy living space and good locations in relation to the university and city. Common irritants in private housing were poor standards of decoration and repair, some inconvenient locations and slow response times by landlords to requests for repairs.
Just over a fifth of students who responded to the survey preferred the larger, off-campus, developments managed by private companies specialising in student accommodation. Residents in these developments were attracted to the good opportunities for socialising, the generally strong security and safety provision and the convenience of having the accommodation managers on site. All-inclusive bills were also a popular factor. Characteristic complaints about larger developments were slow response times by management, excessive noise and poor communal spaces.
Students in privately rented houses or flats were more likely to have got to know non-student neighbours than those in larger developments. High proportions of those living in Beeston and Lenton Abbey felt well-integrated into their neighbourhoods as did, less predictably, those living in Nottingham city centre.
The survey was carried out by The University of Nottingham’s Survey Unit which provides research services within the institution and for external clients. Its Director, Dr Ken Levine, said: “This is a comprehensive survey that involves students from both Nottingham universities. It confirms some of the reasons we suspected that attract students to alternative kinds of accommodation. But there were also some surprises. Contrary to common assumptions, students in areas like Beeston, Lenton Abbey, Clifton, Wollaton and West Bridgford are already participating in many kinds of community activity and a lot expressed the desire to do more in future”.
On behalf of The University of Nottingham, Professor David Riley commented: “The survey offers a welcome evidence base for evaluating student accommodation in Nottingham. What I note from the survey is that students value choice and that there is strong support for all the types of accommodation that the City and its immediate region offer. As The University of Nottingham's Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience I find it particularly reassuring that students value their initial time in our halls of residence and see it as part of a natural progression into more independent living and stronger engagement with local communities.”
Martin Blakey, head of the student housing charity, Unipol, said: “The student housing market in Nottingham forms an important part of the city’s housing stock and how students make choices and what the impact those choices have on the community, the City and the student experience is a vital part of planning effectively for the future. This research is vital in informing future policy options in promoting Nottingham as an educational centre of excellence and a great place to live.”
A major seminar is being organised by Unipol in January 2009 to explore the policy implications of the findings for the future provision of student accommodation in the City and the Greater Nottingham area. This is likely to be followed by a national conference on student housing in the summer of 2009 involving all the major stakeholders including private providers, landlords and local authorities.
A copy of the full survey report can be found at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/survey-unit/Studenthousing.pdf
People who require this report in another format should contact Unipol on +44 (0)113 243 0169 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to Editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.
Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
Nottingham Trent University is a large, diverse and modern university with a mission to deliver education and research that shapes lives and society. It was named top ‘new’ university in this year’s The Good University Guide.
Its students are well placed to thrive in the job market, largely because of the institution’s close links with business and emphasis on work placements. Nottingham Trent University has nurtured close-working partnerships with more than 6,000 businesses, public and private sector organisations across the UK and globally. Consequently, it is the third largest provider of work-based learning opportunities in the UK. It is also one of the most successful universities for graduate employment. Nearly 98% of its students are employed or progress into postgraduate education within six months of graduating.
More information is available from:
Unipol Student Homes: Martin Blakey, on +44 (0)113 205 3415 email@example.com
University of Nottingham: Melanie Futer, Off Campus Student Affairs Manager, on +44 (0)115 95 14649 Melanie.Futer@nottingham.ac.uk
University of Nottingham Survey Unit: Dr Ken Levine on +44 (0)115 846 6092 firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Nottingham Students’ Union: Alice Townend, Community Officer, on +44 (0)1158468772 email@example.com
Nottingham Trent University: Tim Woodman-Clarke, Head of Accommodation Services, on +44 (0)115 8482527 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nottingham Trent University Students’ Union: Oliver Kasper, Ollie.Kasper@su.ntu.ac.uk
Nottingham City Council: Mike Cole, Student Strategy Manager, on +44 (0)115 9156794 Mike.Cole@nottinghamcity.gov.uk
Broxtowe Borough Council: Judith Lewis, Housing Research & Policy Officer, on +44 (0)115 9173028 email@example.com