The College confirmed yesterday that students would not see their rents rise for the 2018/19 academic yearLouis Ashworth

Newnham College have confirmed that rents for students will not be increased for the 2018/19 academic year, despite a previous email which told students that this would be the case.

An email sent to Newham students last Thursday stated that rents for next year would be £1558.49 a term for a termly licence, and £1920.97 a term for a continuous licence throughout the whole year. These rents would have constituted an increase of £61.67 and £76.01 respectively per term compared to this year’s charges.

On Monday, the College sent another email to students stating that these rents were incorrect. In the email, the College’s interim bursar, Donald Hearn, apologised “profusely for this mix-up”, and confirmed that rents would in fact remain the same for the 2018/19 academic year as they had been for the 2017/18 year.

The initial email suggesting increased rents prompted protest from Newnham students, who had been promised that their rents would not increase from their matriculation year over the course of their degree.

The JCR committee stated that they “firmly opposed the rent increase.” An open letter was created by two students which called for “an immediate review of the changes to rent proposed by the College”.


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The letter claimed that high rents could have a detrimental effect on access, noting that it had been raised at various access conferences that Newnham’s living costs were deterring potential applicants. Furthermore, the letter argued that the “financial uncertainty resulting from the way in which these measures have been conducted has caused significant distress and disruption to students”.

Newnham College has since told Varsity that they “appreciate that the error was extremely upsetting for students”, but that it was an “inadvertent mistake when preparing documentation”.

When rent is added to compulsory charges, Newnham expects its students to pay the most per week of any Cambridge college, with a weekly charge that is 12% above the average across all colleges.

Newnham’s Kitchen Fixed Charge, which, at £287.95 a term, is the highest of any Cambridge college, and also contributes to these costs. The college is currently in the process of revising this charge, and in the email sent out to students on Monday it was promised that information regarding the updated approach would be sent to students later in the week. When questioned by Varsity, the College stated that they could not reveal any information before they had informed students.

The new system has prompted concerns among students, who are expected to sign binding room license agreements by June 16th without, as of yet, having received any information about the new Kitchen Fixed Charge system.

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