UWE Bristol students quit degrees after university houses them in Wales

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Students are dropping out of courses at the University of the West of England (UWE) after just a few days because they have been sent to live almost 30 miles from where they are studying.

UWE's main campus is on the edge of Bristol, in South Gloucestershire.

But this year some freshers have been put in accommodation as far away as Newport, in South Wales, or Gloucestershire.

There are 130 students who have been assigned rooms elsewhere after space at UWE's own campus ran out.

The vice-chancellor of UWE told ITV News West Country he is appointing a member of his leadership team to offer support to those affected.

Jennifer Reina, 18, says she discovered she would be living in Newport only after accepting her place to study business and events.

"Everyone who's in Newport doesn't want to be there," she said. "People are trying to move out but, apparently, you have to find someone else to cover that room before you can move somewhere else.

"I don't think they (UWE) are as organised as I'd hope they'd be. It really sucks for the students who don't have that much money. We're all suffering. I'm not even certain I can afford to go to every lecture."

Up to 175 UWE students have been placed in accommodation in Newport Credit: ITV News

A one-bedroom en-suite room in Newport costs around £5,250 per academic year and students say it takes them about an hour to get from their digs to the campus. UWE has agreed to pay for a railcard which saves a third of the cost as well as pay for taxis to the railway station.

But the support was not good enough for Eve Kelly, who quit her law degree after just a few days. The 18-year-old has gone home to Stoke and commutes to nearby Keele University.

"It's so disappointing because UWE was my first choice," she said. "I couldn't wait to go there and then when I arrived (in Newport) I thought 'what is this?'.

"I was heartbroken. It's completely soured my university experience."

It's not the first time universities in the South West have had this issue.

Last year, Bristol University sent some students to live in Bath having previously also used accommodation in Newport.

UWE is building a new accommodation block to house another 900 students on site, but it will not be ready until next year.

  • Vice-chancellor Prof Steve West speaks to ITV News West Country

Vice-chancellor Prof Steve West apologised to those who were unhappy with the Newport student village.

He said: "We've been planning to accommodate our students as best we can in a very difficult marketplace in Bristol.

"The rental market has been shrinking and we looked at what additional accommodation we could create.

"We will contact students to understand what the issues are and how we can best work with them to ensure they feel supported.

"In an ideal world I would love to create enough accommodation on our campus but I can only build as fast as planners will allow."

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