Frequently asked questions

Why does the College want to own its own accommodation?

As outlined in our First Year Student Accommodation Strategy, based on student feedback and in response to changing expectations, the College have determined a set of key criteria that guide all decision-making and development around our accommodation. These criteria outline the need for each hall of residence to have modern, en-suite facilities that include well-apportioned communal spaces and to be based in communities of 350+ residents. 

This should also include CCTV and electronic entry access across all halls, and the provision of exceptional pastoral care and support.

We believe meeting these criteria consistently will only be achievable through the direct ownership of our halls of residence. Feedback from our residents about our halls, as outlined in our Exit Survey 2019, has been overwhelmingly positive.   

Why has the College chosen a break-even model?

We want to be as fair as possible to all our students, whether they are in College accommodation or not, so we want to run our halls on a break-even model. We don’t believe we should be making either a surplus or a loss on our halls so we run them “at cost”. The costs included in the average price include both running and maintaining the halls in the first year undergraduate accommodation portfolio, as well as the long-term depreciation of the buildings, so that we can rebuild them for future generations of students.

Running our halls at cost also means we will be able to renew our first-year undergraduate accommodation at the appropriate time, so future generations of students can have access to similar facilities and support services.

How are the rent rates determined for each halls?

The rates set for each hall are determined by a variety of factors, including room type, facilities and location. As we have halls across multiple locations, we work to ensure that there are a variety of bed spaces available at each to ensure a full range of choice is available in terms of costs and facilities.

How does Imperial accommodation rent compare with other institutions?

We have carried out benchmarking exercises comparing accommodation of a similar standard in the open market and other comparable London universities to ensure we remain broadly in line, whilst committed to ensuring our rents are significantly lower than halls in the private sector. 

Furthermore, our contracts will generally only run for 39-weeks, meaning students are not charged for when they are not at the College.

How does the College define what ‘affordable’ accommodation is?

We understand that a definition of affordable accommodation will depend on each student’s individual financial circumstances. The New London Plan, as approved by the NUS, states that 35% of new student accommodation should cost no more than 55% of the maximum maintenance loan provided by Student Finance England.  

We endeavour to provide a range of options that are as inclusive and wide-ranging as possible. When determining rents, we take into consideration:

  • The rent levels found in similar accommodation at comparable Universities. Through an extensive benchmarking process, we are proud of the fact that, on average, our rents are equal to or lower than our competitors in the sector.
  • The maximum maintenance loan available from Student Finance England.
  • The average living costs for a full-time student studying in Central London.
  • The availability and greatest value of the range of bursaries our students can apply for.


What help can I get to assist with the cost of accommodation?

We know that living in London can be expensive, but we are committed to providing value and affordability wherever possible. Moreover, the College offers generous bursaries and is committed to ensuring that no student cannot complete their studies due to financial burdens.

If you require additional financial support for your accommodation, please contact Student Financial Support who can advise on any relevant funding opportunities.