University of Limerick to refund students living in campus accommodation

Thousands of students left to return home during Covid-19 lockdown

University of Limerick. Image: Google Street View

University of Limerick. Image: Google Street View


University of Limerick’s governing body has recommended that its students living in campus accommodation should be refunded because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thousands of students had to leave their accommodation in March and have not been able to return to the university since. There are almost 3,000 beds in on-campus facilities. However to date, they have been required to pay full fees for their time at the university’s accommodation even while not living there.

The university was only one of the seven in the State that did not issue pro-rata refunds to students who vacated their student accommodation. Students normally pay up front for accommodation.

Speaking in the Dáil last month, the Minister for Education Joe McHugh said UL had a “moral duty or obligation to refund those students who are not in their private rental accommodation today, who were not there last week or the week before and who will not be there next week. There is a duty to look at some form of pro-rata reimbursement.”

Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara, who raised the subject in the Dáil, said he welcomed the decision and that he would continue to maintain pressure on privately owned student accommodation providers to offer refunds to students in light of the closure of third level institutes in mid-March.

“When universities and colleges began giving lectures and tutorials remotely, it became clear that students who could do so would leave student accommodation to return home to their families,” he said.

“I contacted UL in early April and was advised that the matter of refunds to student residents was at that time under serious review by the UL governing authority. Today’s decision by the governing body will come as a welcome relief to students and their parents.”