Federal Government announces funding to support affordable housing for Deakin University studentsMedia release
The Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities The Hon Tony Burke MP today (Wednesday 9 November) announced funding towards additional student accommodation at Deakin University's Geelong Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool campuses.
The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) funding will provide the University with rental subsidies in excess of $38million over 10 years for 311 beds being built at Deakin's Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus and 100 beds at its Warrnambool Campus.
A State Government component of the funding, $10.2 million announced earlier this year, is being provided from the Victorian Government's Regional Infrastructure Development Fund.
Deakin University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander thanked Minister Burke and the Federal Government for supporting the much-needed expansion of the University's on-campus accommodation.
"This is a very welcome announcement as student accommodation at all of our campuses is in short supply," Professor den Hollander said.
"The housing issue is particularly acute at our Geelong and Warrnambool campuses as we strive to meet both Federal and State Government targets of higher education participation by students from rural and regional areas.
"Affordable student accommodation is critical to achieving these targets."
The cost of living away from home was identified by a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry as a major issue for Victorian students participating in higher education.
"The inquiry calculated that the cost for a student living away from home to study was around $20,000 per year. It is little wonder that 60 per cent of regional students who defer their higher education place do so for financial reasons," Professor den Hollander said.
"This situation is exacerbated in cities like Geelong and Warrnambool where the private rental market is increasingly tight. This market will continue to put pressure on the availability and affordability of private rental accommodation for our students.
"Today's announcement is therefore very welcome indeed.
"This funding will allow us to provide more affordable on-campus housing for students from rural and regional areas and those from low socio economic backgrounds wanting to study at our campuses but who might otherwise have thought that university education was out of their financial reach."
The new on-campus student accommodation will consist of studio apartments with kitchenettes, ensuite bathrooms and study areas with access to central laundry facilities. It will include significant common areas and be in close proximity to the University's student support services. The construction costs are around $51.5million. It is expected that the new apartments will be completed by the beginning of 2014.
The new apartments will bring the total number of beds available at the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus to 766 and 340 at the Warrnambool Campus.