Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD today welcomed a major financing mechanism to give Higher Education Institutions the capacity to potentially deliver more than 2,700 student beds across Ireland.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) have today agreed a new €434 million student accommodation financing initiative to support higher education institutions in the development of affordable student housing.
In the first ever dedicated student accommodation funding deal between the EIB and the HFA, this major financing resource will be made available to deliver new and additional student beds through the construction and refurbishment of accommodation at Irish universities.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “This is fantastic news for Irish universities and their students and I want to pay tribute to the EIB and HFA for delivering this important agreement.
“Every student bed we create has a double benefit. It helps the student and their family, but it also frees up private rental accommodation in our cities and towns. This investment by the EIB and HFA will have significant benefits for access to education, and crucially to the wider housing market.”
The investment announced today is separate to the Government announcement where a total of up to €61 million has been provided to unlock the development of over 1,000 beds across four universities, with delivery beginning in 2024.
Minister Harris added: “This announcement will assist institutions with the cost of building accommodation and help bridge the gap between viability and affordability for students.
“Applications will now open and I look forward to seeing the outcome of this important partnership.”
The funding arrangement involves a 40-year €200 million loan from the EIB, with the HFA more than matching the investment, bringing the total to €434 million. This funding will form part of the 25% of the Housing For All commitment made by the HFA.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said: “This Government is focussed on scaling up the supply of all types of housing and accommodation, including student accommodation which we know is so badly needed.
"The HFA is already playing a significant role in facilitating the delivery of thousands of social and affordable homes throughout the country. So it is well placed to play a lead role in improving the supply of student accommodation. I want to commend everyone involved in this historic agreement.”
In 2021 the HFA was empowered to provide financing to Higher Education Institutions to support the delivery of student accommodation and more recently received approval to extend this lending to Technological Universities. Work is underway to develop the long term policy for student accommodation with the University and Technological University sector.
A feasibility study is underway to identify specific student accommodation demand and supply by region and to inform appropriate responses for delivery for the Technological Sector, including an examination of a specific TU borrowing framework as a mechanism to deliver financed student accommodation in key areas.
To date, the HFA has provided financing of €261.2 million to support the delivery of 2,403 student beds.
Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided €950 million for housing investment by the HFA.
Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Finance Agency, said: “The Housing Finance Agency was delighted to welcome President Hoyer to Dublin to mark the establishment of this significant new student housing finance package.
“We had the pleasure of visiting new student accommodation delivered by the University of Galway and Trinity College Dublin in recent months and were impressed by the quality and innovation of the developments.
"We are proud to support these housing schemes with financing and we are eager to work with Higher Education Institutions to facilitate the delivery of more high quality, affordable student accommodation across the country.
“This latest cooperation between the HFA and the EIB will ensure that long-term, competitive financing is available for new student housing projects over the next five years.”
Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, added: “The European Investment Bank is committed to backing visionary investment that strengthens access to education across Europe and over the last decade has supported transformational investment at hundreds of Irish schools and all Irish universities as well as construction of social housing across the country.
“The €200 million 40-year EIB financing agreed with our long-standing partner HFA today will build new student accommodation across Ireland, providing students will better and more affordable places to live and reduce pressure on local housing.”