Support you can get in student accommodation

Studying a subject at university level and living in student accommodation might be two brand new experiences for you. Here’s an idea of the support that will be available in your student halls or shared house.

Are you worried about where you’ll be living at uni?

Totally understandable – until you’re all moved in, it’s hard to imagine what it’ll be like. Don’t worry though, most people feel nervous, and you’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other and settle in.

In case there’s anything in particular you’re thinking about, here’s a run through some of the support you can get while you’re living in student accommodation.

1. Can’t afford student accommodation?

You could speak to your university’s money advice team. They’ll be able to let you know if there’s any funding or finance you might be eligible for – whether short term while you’re waiting for student finance or to start a part-time job, or perhaps a bursary to help you pay your tuition and accommodation fees.

2. Accommodation teams

Most universities have an accommodation team that runs the various student halls and lodgings – you’ll be able to contact them if you have questions about where you’re living. Or if you’re in a private shared house, they’ll probably still be able to offer advice if you need it.

If you’re in student halls, you might have a residential assistant – usually a final-year student or recent graduate. They’ll remember what it was like to move into student accommodation and be able to answer any questions you have. They might also be responsible for checking your kitchen and halls are in a decent condition (so if anyone’s a lazy cleaner, your residential assistant might be able to encourage them to get on with it!).

3. Maintenance and security

If you’re on campus or in student halls, there’s probably a security team on site and CCTV. You’ll be able to contact them if you notice anything untoward. You’ll also have a way to report any maintenance issues you might encounter in your accommodation – most universities have a facilities team that’s responsible for fixing any wear and tear.

If you’re in a private shared house, you should have decent locks on the exterior doors – and you should be in a safe enough area if your university has an approved private accommodation list. These lists include houses that meet minimum standards, so should be nice places to live. If there are any maintenance issues, you’ll be able to get in touch with your landlord for support.

4. Wellbeing and mental health support

If you’d like some support in general or specifically with living in accommodation, unis have support teams to help. Whether you can speak to people you live with or spend time with them to help you settle in – or whether you’d like to speak to someone outside of your accommodation, there’s always someone you can talk to:

  • Wellbeing and mental health teams
  • Faith and spirituality spaces
  • Student reps and residential assistants
  • Your Students’ Union
  • Your housemates or students on your course
  • Your personal tutor or lecturers

5. Disabled students’ allowance

If you have a learning difficulty, health problem or disability, you could be eligible for financial support. This can be used to help you adjust to university life and cover some study-related costs – and could help you to pay for accessible accommodation.

It’s worth getting in touch with your university in advance if you think you’ll need them to make some adjustments, or support your learning, or be mindful of your individual requirements.

6. Connections outside of your accommodation

If it’s taking a bit of time to get settled into your student accommodation, you could always focus on making connections elsewhere. Spend time with people from your course, or in the societies or sports teams you might join. Your Students’ Union could offer some advice too if you’d like to speak to student reps who know what it’s like to live in uni accommodation.

Of course if you’d like to hear some familiar voices while you’re settling into your student accommodation, give your family and friends a call. Set up a catch up or visit your friends at their unis. In time you’ll get used to your new surroundings, but a bit of home can be nice here and there too.

Still wondering what accommodation support is like?

You could get in touch with your university and talk about what’s available specifically. Or why not have a word with students who are already at uni? They might be able to tell you about any help they’ve had or how they’ve been supported in their accommodation.

Remember though, you’ll all be in the same boat and you’ll have plenty of people you can talk to if you need any support. Here's some advice on settling in, and what you should know before signing your contract.

If you're looking for student accommodation, you can start your search here.