Mid Wales

Aberystwyth University record intake sees 600 in bunks

A record intake of first year students have arrived at Aberystwyth University for the start of the new term, with 600 expected to sleep in bunk beds.

A total of 3,000 people have been offered a place in the seaside town.

Last month officials asked overseas students to consider deferring for a year because of an "exceptional year for student recruitment".

Wales' other universities have had to deal with a rise in numbers, but there have been few accommodation problems.

But a lack of accommodation in Aberystwyth has been an issue in recent years, including an occasion when some students were asked to start the term in seaside guest houses.

Last month, the university said it was introducing rooms with two single beds or a bunk bed to solve a shortage issue.

Officials have since claimed that some students who had single rooms had asked to sleep in bunk rooms because they were cheaper.

They said those unhappy with bunks would be placed on a waiting list for a single room.

Gwydion Ebenezer is in one of the students sleeping in bunks or single beds.

He said: "When I found out I was pretty annoyed.

"The whole idea of moving out into accommodation, I thought: 'Great, I'll have a bit more space. My own place to work.'

"But when I found out I was sharing a bunk room I was sceptical if I could get any work done because I thought the room would be a lot smaller, and there's only one desk in the room so it could be a bit of hassle later on especially when exams come down."

Despite his misgivings, Mr Ebenezer said his bunk room was a bigger than he expected.

He has complained to the university though, and has been put on a waiting list for a single room.

University pro vice-chancellor Rebecca Davies said an apology had been emailed to students who had been put in bunk rooms.

She said: "There was a real rush to get to university this year. Some folks, particularly in England, were worried about the introduction of fees in 2012."

But should the university have foreseen this and made it harder for students to secure a place at Aberystwyth?

Mrs Davies said: "I think that's a very difficult thing to ask someone in higher education, because we want everybody who could benefit from the excellent university experience that we offer here to come here.

"So that's why I'm really proud that we've made it possible for everyone who made the grade to actually come to Aberystwyth this year."

Mrs Davies said she had not received many complaints from students.

"We're really seeing very positive feedback so far on the way that they are making friends and living together," she added.

However, Ceredigion Council is making inquiries to ensure the university has not broken any regulations.

Other universities in Wales been dealing with a rise in numbers as well.

University of Wales Institute, Cardiff told BBC Wales that some students from outside the local area "were unable to get a place in their halls", but they managed the demand by "helping them secure private rented accommodation".

Swansea Metropolitan University arranged a special event for unplaced students to meet local landlords and Newport University said it was "coping perfectly well".

Bangor, Cardiff and Glyndwr universities said they had not encountered any problems.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites