University Tips Blog
Image of a student moving into university accommodation
A headshot image of the author, Charlotte Kettlewell

by Charlotte Kettlewell

Outreach and Schools Liaison Officer at University College Birmingham

posted on 4 Jul '23

A guide to university accommodation

There is a range of accommodation available for students to suit a variety of budgets. I would recommend you encourage students to research institutions’ different options online and to see the accommodation in person during open, applicant or clearing days.

What are university halls?

Most universities have their own university halls. There can be a range of options available, from shared bathrooms to ensuites and even self-contained flats! Most are self-catering but some universities do offer catered options.

These flats are usually fully furnished with kettles, toasters, beds, wardrobes etc. Do encourage students to read their institution’s website for what is included in their halls, as no-one wants ten kettles in one flat!

Universities will stipulate who can live in halls: some, for example, may say first year students who make them their first choice will be offered a place in halls, while others will offer places to any student that wishes to reside in them.

A lot of contracts will cover September to June for when students are studying. However, students estranged from parents or in care can ask for additional support and some universities will have 52-week provision available. Longer contracts can also apply for education, health/medicine and international students.

What is university managed accommodation?

This accommodation is privately owned, external to the university and off campus, but the university manage it. This means payments of rent and requests for maintenance will be done through the university.

What are private student halls?

Private halls are much like university halls but are privately owned and are not associated with a university. If studying in a big city where there are different universities, students from all these different institutions may be living there and be at different levels of study.

What are private student houses?

Like the above, these are privately owned houses to rent. Most students move into a room in these shared houses after their first year of university and tend to share with friends they have made through societies or on their courses.


Rents for student accommodation are calculated as a weekly rate (for example, £132 p/w) but can be paid termly (for example, £1,386) when student maintenance loans and grants are paid. Rents in halls tend to cover rent, maintenance and security, utilities, Wi-Fi etc. Privately owned accommodation can differ from place to place.

Student support departments are equipped to support students when reading contracts to make sure they feel comfortable before signing. Deposits are paid before moving in. If a student is struggling financially, encourage them to contact their university for support.

Image of a student relaxing in university accommodation

My top university accommodation tips:

  • Signpost students towards their institution’s student support or accommodation services if they are concerned about finances, moving, contracts etc.
  • Encourage students to not rush into signing contracts and check them with a parent/teacher before they do sign.
  • Deposits are refundable unless the student has breached their contract. Deposits need to be paid beforehand.
  • Colour code – it is easy to lose white plates, so encourage them to bring something a little jazzy so they are not lost.
  • If money is an issue, second-hand alternatives may be available.

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