The college has claimed that it still covers “around 50 per cent of the actual cost of student accommodation”Rebecca Tyson

St John’s College’s plan to hike rent by 17% has been met by criticism from the student body.

The College announced plans to raise rent by 17.46% in the upcoming academic year in an open meeting for all students, despite opposition from the Johns JCR and SBR (the College's postgraduate student union).

This comes after the College's rent was increased by 10% for this academic year. 

The College has claimed the increase is caused by “vastly increased energy bills” and has claimed it still covers “around 50 per cent of the actual cost of student accommodation”. 

Many students have expressed fear that they will not be able to pay their rent, with student loans only rising by 2.5% in the coming year, and postgraduate stipends by 4%.

The college has also changed the way that they value college rooms, according to the SBR. A new tier system will see some rooms, particularly undergraduate rooms in main college buildings, become more expensive.

John’s has also changed the display of fees on the accommodation website from 'per term' to ‘per week’. This means that prices will now appear lower than before, despite students not being able to change the length of their contracts.

One student, posting on the College's Facebook confessions page, Bridge of Highs, calculated that prices for the most expensive rooms have increased by 47% since the 2021-2022 academic year. In 2021, the annual price of the most expensive room cost £6,271 per year. In the upcoming academic year, rent will be £9,195 per year for the same room, the student said. 

Multiple meetings were held between the SBR and JCR committees and college authorities to discuss the increase in rents. The SBR and JCR expressed their “deep concern” with the proposed rent increases during these discussions.

Negotiations with the College resulted in a 3.06% deferral in the increase of rents for next year to the following. The increase was due to stand at 20.52% before this concession.

John’s also held an open meeting for all junior members to discuss the increases, which is reported to have been well attended, with students expressing concerns and questions.

One John’s student reported that the vast majority of John’s students found out about the increases from the opening meeting, rather than a confirmation email. “It seems like they wanted the news to slip out under the radar,” they told Varsity.

“The costs are prohibitively high which is a real shame for a college which has a bad reputation but enough money to do some real good,” the student continued.

Another John’s student described the situation as “insane”.

“I’m from the kind of background where I don’t have a great student loan or a bursary, but my parents won’t be able to support me to pay that much more rent,” the student told Varsity.


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They expressed their understanding that the college is “struggling,” but maintained that the cost of living crisis is hitting all students hard.

“An entity worth one billion pounds shouldn’t be taking it out on a broke student,” they said.

A spokeswoman for St John’s College said: “St John’s subsidises the cost of providing student accommodation by more than £8.5 million per year and as a result the College’s weekly rental charges are consistently below the Cambridge average.

“St John’s is keenly aware of the impact these rises will have on students. College Officers have worked closely with JCR and SBR representatives on the rent review and it has been agreed that part of the rise will be deferred for a year. All undergraduates and postgraduates were reminded at an open meeting that additional financial support is available to qualifying members of the College,” they said.