The responses revealed concern over the affordability of accommodation, with 24% of respondents in strong disagreement with the statement, “I can comfortably afford my rent” Rosie Bradbury

A recent survey by members of the Murray Edwards Student Collective has found that for nearly half of respondents, costs of college rent and charges has had a negative impact on their financial security.

The survey report, published earlier this week, found several students’ responses pointed to the difficulties they faced in affording their rent, as well as a lack of clarity over the college’s utilisation of their money.  

46.9% of students reported that their rent had a negative impact on their financial security, while 71% of respondents disagreed with the statement, “I understand how my rent and overhead chances are spent”.

The anonymous survey was aimed, according to the report, at both assessing student views on their accommodation and rent and “destigmatizing the conversation surrounding these issues”.

It received 148 responses over less than a week, which the report claimed to be “representative of the Murray Edwards student community”. 24% of respondents were first-years, while 40% were second-year, 26% were third-year, 6% were fourth-year, and 7% were postgraduate students. Earlier this month, the CUSU Big Cambridge Survey found that 75% of Murray Edwards students did not consider their rents and charges to be good value for money, the second-highest score of any undergraduate college, after Newnham.  

The responses revealed concern over the affordability of accommodation, with 24% of respondents in strong disagreement with the statement, “I can comfortably afford my rent”. Issues of rent are also blamed for creating strains on the students’ “family relationships, their mental health, and their standard of living”.

Regarding the impact of this financial burden, 13 students used the word “anxiety” within their responses, while 20 described problems of “stress”. In their conclusion, the Student Collective claimed that the survey results illustrated “a clear link between the cost of rent and the physical and mental wellbeing of students”.

Murray Edwards did not respond to a request for comment on the survey’s findings.


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Added to these burdens are responses which indicate both a lack of far-reaching financial support, and difficulties in obtaining it. 77.1% of students who strongly disagreed with the statement, “I can comfortably afford my rent” did not receive the Cambridge bursary – several students also described processes for receiving additional financial support to be “humiliating” or “slow”.

64.2% of respondents disagreed with this conclusion that the “cost of rent reflects the quality of accomodation”, with 32.4% strongly disagreeing. Earlier this month, Varsity reported that ten Murray Edwards students were living in temporary ‘bunkabins’ due to renovation delays, paying accomodation fees of £1,180 per term.

The Student Collective said they believe that rent cuts provide the clearest solution to the issues revealed by the survey, both tackling student financial stability and consequently improving the welfare of the student body.

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