CUBO and GSL publish insights on experience of vulnerable groups in student accommodation

28 June 2024      Bethany Hancock, CUBO Communications Officer

The gap in satisfaction between students with a disability and those without in student accommodation has remained largely consistent (around 7-8%) over the past nine years. This means that while overall standards have improved, students with a disability are living through a worse experience, and little has changed.

CUBO and Global Student Living released a new report exploring the changing shape of student accommodation in the UK and Ireland at the CUBO Summer Conference held at the Queen’s University Belfast from 12-14 June 2024

The report explores the student accommodation experience of some of the most vulnerable student cohorts, including those who are part of an ethnic minority, students who have a long-term illness, health problem or disability which limits daily activities or work, students who report themselves as neurodivergent, and those identifying within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

Among the findings it is reported that:

  • Students with a disability are 3x more likely to rate their bedroom negatively
  • 50% of neurodivergent students say they struggle with meeting new people, compared with 31% of those who are not neurodivergent
  • 61% of transgender or non-binary students report they struggle with stress/anxiety
  • Financial burdens are higher for students with disabilities due to additional costs associated with accessible accommodation

This is the second report on which CUBO and GSL have partnered, having issued their first joint report in 2023 on the accommodation experience of different international student cohorts. The partnership was a landmark in facilitating the wider sharing of knowledge and best practice in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), and giving CUBO members a deeper level of insight into the performance of student accommodation in the UK & Ireland and the emerging global trends.

Sue Pimblett, CUBO’s Research lead, said “CUBO and GSL have again collaborated to produce a fascinating cross-sector report on student accommodation. Using GSL’s vast data source, the report provides a high-level analysis of the national picture trends in student experience and a specific deep dive into the experiences of vulnerable students. The report details some clear opportunities for our industry to act upon, make improvements and enhance the experience for all cohorts.”

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