The report published by the Higher Education Authority today which says that there is a shortage of 25,000 beds for third level students around the country backs up the proposal that I mooted last week that the Government must look seriously at colleges providing adequate and suitable student accommodation on their own grounds. The reality this year is that some parents are actually deciding not to send their children to college because they cannot afford the spiralling rents College and third level institutions around the country in many cases have plenty of spare ground and the Government should provide the funds to build student accommodation which can be offered at realistic rent. The money it would cost would be quickly repaid by rental income and it would ease the current crisis. It is time for the Minister and the Department to think outside the box. There is also the possibility of offering interested parties in the private sector incentives to build purpose built third level student accommodation and offer it at a realistic cost. The situation as it exists simply cannot continue.
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