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UL students should get accommodation refund, governing authority recommends

Jessica Quinn
A REFUND of accommodation fees for University of Limerick students has been recommended by the university’s governing authority. This is welcome news for students, many from Clare, who had been forced to give up their campus accommodation after the Covid-19 crisis broke.
A spokesperson for the University of Limerick has confirmed, “The University of Limerick Governing Authority has today (Tuesday) given a recommendation that UL subsidiary Plassey Campus Centre Ltd (PCC), which manages the student residences on campus, return rental income to the students who left their accommodation on foot of the government’s decision to close the university campus in March.”
UL’s Governing Authority held a Special Meeting on Tuesday during which the refund of student rents was discussed. Plassey Campus Centre Ltd (PCC) is the licensor and a separate legal entity to the University, with the issue a matter for decision by PCC and not the Governing Authority.
“Nonetheless, as PCC sought the views of Governing Authority on the matter of refunds, the view of Governing Authority is that the rents be refunded to the students.”
The spokesperson added that University of Limerick has responded quickly to the COVID-19 crisis, placing all of its academic programmes online, supporting the HSE in its fight against the pandemic and providing residential supports to over 700 students who chose to remain on the campus during the lockdown.
“The university sector was experiencing a funding crisis before COVID-19 and UL, like the other universities, is now facing extraordinary financial challenges. Losing summer and foreign student income will bring huge deficits and government support for the Higher Education sector will be needed so UL can play its part in any economic recovery.
“Last month, in order to prevent costs from rising where possible and in line with most Irish higher education institutions, UL introduced a recruitment freeze. The recruitment freeze is expected to remain in place for the immediate future.”
Welcoming the refund recommendation Clare TD Joe Carey commented, “This is very welcome news and a victory for common sense. Many local students were in limbo over the issue of the fees and I’m very glad they finally have some clarification. Some students I spoke to in recent weeks were extremely worried and many had lost part-time jobs which they were using to pay off their fees.”
While Michael McNamara TD said, “Following questioning by me in Dáil Éireann two weeks ago, the Minister for Education Joe McHugh indicated that progress continued to be made on the matter. Today’s decision by UL’s Governing body will come as a welcome relief to students and their parents.”

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