Parents' and carers' section

When someone you care about makes the life-changing decision of coming to university, it's only natural that you should want to support them any way you can.

Below, we've answered some questions that parents and carers often ask about accommodation. There are also some quick links to information you might find useful.

If you have any further questions, please contact our Residential Service.

Do you guarantee accommodation? Is demand high?

We allocate accommodation on a first come first served basis, so we recommend that students apply online as soon as they’ve firmly accepted a conditional or unconditional offer from us.

Students starting in January 2023

If students have accepted a place to study with us in January, we look forward to welcoming them onto campus. If they have not already received an offer of accommodation from us, we cannot guarantee University accommodation, as there is no further availability and our reserve list is closed.

International students must book accommodation before they travel to the UK. If they are unable to secure accommodation, they are strongly advised not to travel to the UK and should defer their offer of a place to study with us until the next intake in September 2023.

There are very limited private sector options. If students would like to chat through options in the private sector, please call us on 01245 683110 for Chelmsford and 01223 698900 for Cambridge. We are available Monday–Friday 9.30–4.30.

If students will be commuting, they can find information about travelling to our campuses in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough.

What accommodation is available?

There are various options available, depending where students are studying. Some properties are managed by ARU and some are privately owned and managed. You can read about properties on our accommodation pages

As our accommodation portal allows students to pick their chosen property, and in some cases the exact room, we encourage everyone to consider their options carefully to make sure they choose the one that will suit them best. We’re more than happy to help by answering any questions. Key things students usually consider are price, proximity to campus and whether an en-suite is essential or not.

What's the application process?

Start by reading the what you need to know pages. These link through to our online application portal.

When will we know if an application has been successful?

Our online application portal allows students to ‘self-select’ their accommodation, rather than simply tell us their preferences. This means they'll be able to select the property they wish to live in (unless it's fully booked). Provided they meet any required payment deadlines, the room will be theirs.

Why would an application be unsuccessful?

There are a number of possible reasons:

  • our accommodation was already full at the time the student tried to book
  • ARU is listed as an 'insurance choice' university on UCAS
  • the student is studying a part-time course
  • the student has lived in accommodation booked through ARU before
  • the student accepted an offer to study with us less than 24 hours ago – try logging in again once 24 hours has passed

If it's not possible to book a room through ARU, what other accommodation options are there?

There are a range of rooms available in the private sector. Read more about renting privately.

If I am concerned about a student's welfare, can I discuss their situation with you?

The Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act mean that ARU is unable to disclose information about individual students to third parties. However, we do appreciate there are occasions when you may need to share your concerns about a student with us.

Although we can't openly discuss a student with you, we’ll take action to follow up on cases where there is concern for their welfare. We have lots of support available to students in areas such as wellbeing, finance and study skills.

What are the rooms and shared areas like?

Most of our students have single bedrooms, all of which are furnished with a bed, a desk and chair, storage space (including a wardrobe), shelves, a notice board and curtains.

Some accommodation has shared bathrooms, some rooms have en-suite facilities and some have their own sinks or showers in the rooms. Depending on the type of accommodation, the kitchens are mostly shared and are sized in proportion to the number of students sharing them. We also have studio flats in Cambridge.

We can offer adapted accommodation for students with disabilities at both our campuses.

Each property has its own web page with lots of information and photos.

Is a cleaning service provided?

Students are responsible for keeping both their rooms and the communal areas clean and tidy.

We can provide a cleaning rota and support to students who are struggling to get their housemates to help out.

How long can students live in ARU accommodation?

The majority of students live in the accommodation for a maximum of one academic year. A small number of rooms are made available for students wishing to return. We'll email students about this.

Care leavers or students with a medical condition or disability can apply to live in University accommodation for the full length of their degree course.

We offer lots of help on renting in the private sector to students when they start thinking about moving out.

How much does accommodation cost?

Rents include all utility bills up to a generous threshold and in most accommodation, internet and personal possessions insurance. You can find out more about the costs in our cost comparison charts.

Cambridge cost comparison chart

Chelmsford Student Village rent table

Where can students get support while living in accommodation?

Our Residential Service offices are located on campus, and open from 9.30am–4.30pm, Monday–Friday, to help students (excluding bank holidays and University closure periods).

Outside of these times, various support is available depending on the accommodation. This may include security patrols and Residential Assistants (trained students who live in the accommodation). Find out who to contact in individual properties

Is the accommodation catered?

All our accommodation is self-catering. There are places to buy meals available on campus as well as a range of stores and restaurants locally.

What information is available to help students find a suitable place to live in the private sector?

We have a section of our website dedicated to supporting students looking for private accommodation. It provides house-hunting options as well as a guide to getting started.

In late February/early March, we run a Housing Fair to provide information for continuing students who will be renting privately in the following academic year.