The Covid-19 Pandemic has altered university life in previously unimaginable ways. Going to lectures, meeting new people in different blocks, and the 3 am kebabs after a night out are a few examples of the life university students lived a year ago. While we know these will not be coming back for a while, there is much uncertainty surrounding one of the largest elements of University Life for most: accommodation. Due to the new lockdown imposed in early January, many students that had gone home for the holidays were unable to return to their term-time addresses. Royal Holloway, University of London swiftly announced their response to the situation, ensuring students were clearly informed of the steps the University was taking.

Royal Holloway rent strikes
Source: Royal Holloway, University of London

About the University

Royal Holloway, University of London is a beautiful campus university located on the outskirts of London in Egham, Surrey. It also has a campus in Central London for post-graduate study. It is known to have one of the best Student Union’s in the London area (as said by The Independent) for its 10,000 students, with regular events and activities. Alongside this, the many societies, sports clubs, and highly informative Student Advice Centre make them a large part of student life at Royal Holloway. Overall, student satisfaction was 87% in 2020, and has consistently remained one of the highest in the country.

Student Rent Demands

Royal Holloway covid rent
Source: Royal Holloway

The Government announcement that a third lockdown was being imposed affected almost every student at Royal Holloway. Most degrees at the University were not classed as needing in-person delivery due to which the campus currently looks like a ghost town! Many students, being unable to return to their Student Accommodation, wrote to the University asking to not pay rent as they were unable to return. Additionally, many students that were not in halls but were living in rented properties around the University also wrote to the University asking for guidance. All students were in agreement that Royal Holloway should do something about rent so that students were not negatively impacted.

The Response

covid rent strikes royal holloway
Source: Royal Holloway

Royal Holloway was quick to come up with a response. A few days after the announcement, Royal Holloway sent out, in its weekly updates (sent every Sunday to ensure all students are aware of what is happening in the University), a statement clarifying their stance on student rent. Their student satisfaction will not be affected because they announced that students in halls who could not return will not have to pay rent during the lockdown. Furthermore, to help students who were in private accommodation off-campus, the university sent out an open letter to landlords around the area urging them to keep student’s circumstances in mind hence should consider not charging rent during the lockdown either. This response endorsed by the Student Union, who continue to work closely with the university to respond to the situation (which unexpectedly changes) with student’s best interests in mind.

To summarise, Royal Holloway has been exceptional in putting student worries to ease. While the pandemic has brought a wave of uncertainty which may not pass soon, the University is helping students ride the wave to have the best possible experience in a world of Zoom calls and Teams meetings! Allowing students to not pay rent during the lockdown, alongside trying to help the students who are renting privately, shows that Royal Holloway is a small but great University that will support its students to the best possible level, and has a beautiful campus that looks like Hogwarts!