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Mar 6, 2012

Housing struggle as students head back to Uni

As students head back to university this week, Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) has warned that three in four students receiving rent assistance face studying in poverty because of their housing costs.

The National Union of Students has joined with AAH to call on the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) to help more than 20,000 students currently in housing stress.

“The shortage of affordable rental housing means that it’s harder for students, who often have no rental history, to get a place they can afford. Often those who have found accommodation will be paying exorbitant rent in overcrowded, and frankly pretty shoddy houses,” said AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey. 

“Students who have to relocate to attend university, such as those from regional areas and interstate, should not be deterred from furthering their education because of a lack of affordable housing.

AAH has called on the Federal Government to immediately boost CRA between $16 and $25 per week in their federal budget submission – which will lift 100,000 renters out of housing stress.

“An increase to CRA would benefit university students who heavily rely on rent assistance while completing their studies.

The National President of the National Union of Students, Donherra Walmsley, said that the cost of housing was a serious problem for students across the country.

“Housing stress is having a huge impact on the ability of students to complete their studies, with many students regularly missing class to go to work, just so they can pay the bills.

“Students are being forced to work upwards of twenty hours a week just to be able to pay their rent, with little or no money left over for vital course materials like textbooks.

“It’s time that CRA was increased to reflect the dramatic rises in rental prices all over Australia,” Ms Walmsley said.

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004. For further comment from NUS: Donherra Walmsley, National President, 0411 606 808.

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed


  • Just Another Student

    I’m a university student who had to relocate from the country to the city in order to study. My rent is $247 a week, while my rent assistance is $119. Luckily for me, I have financial support from my parents. If I didn’t, university study wouldn’t have even been a possibility.

  • Anonymous

    By far the biggest problem I encountered when I spent almost 6 months homeless whilst looking for a place to live, was the unfair competition (biding) from foreign students.
    I am 58 and on a disability pension and some months, pay half of it for rent.
    My standard of living is commensurately very low and unlike young students I can’t easily find work.
    Universities and tertiary institutes must take some of the responsibility for this, as must
    our governments. Availability of housing for its citizens is a basic right in a civilized society and should be protected by law.


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