Hobart is booming and the local ABC is running a story on students struggling to find accommodation when they are asked to leave university housing to make way for freshers, from out of Hobart and overseas.
A big part of the problem is that 60 per cent of students used to move out of university housing as they built local-lives but because of a tight private market this year nearly all of them want to stay.
UTas saw this coming, buying a Hobart hotel in May to refurb as rooms for 190 students (CMM May 23) adding to its 1000 beds. But it has not helped its cause with a campaign that told international students they could queue-jump for uni accommodation. “This does not align with our university values and the campaign was recalled as soon as we were made aware,” Stephanie Taylor, executive director student experience, tells uni staff in an internal document. Good-oh, but guess what line the ABC led with.
The university does give accommodation priority to arriving internationals but also to Tasmanian students from outside the city, scholarship holders and commencing interstate students. But this isn’t going to placate existing undergrads. The Tasmanian University Union council is petitioning VC Rufus Black for UTas “to halt its decision to offer more accommodation to first-year students if it comes at the expense of the accommodation for existing students.”