NUS releases guidelines for university guarantor schemes

17/06/2016

The National Union of Students has released guidelines for universities wishing to establish their own guarantor schemes, as part of their ‘Housing How To…’ briefing series. This comes as a relief to those whose concerns about guarantors have so far failed to be alleviated. The briefing includes advice on how to ‘win the argument’ with step-by-step procedures to be put in place, case studies and best practice examples, the moral case with its clear benefits, and the practicalities of risk mitigation.

Many students face challenges in finding a suitable person to act as their guarantor, who must meet the requirements demanded by providers. A guarantor must typically have an income that is high enough to be able to cover the rent payment, and must typically be based in the UK. Naturally, this can negatively affect students who are care leavers; who are estranged from their families; who are from low-income backgrounds; and who are international students.

The briefing aims to combat these challenges by presenting a framework for universities to step in and act as the rent guarantor on behalf of students, provided that certain steps are met. It notes that these schemes are ‘a low-cost and low-risk option for universities that want to support their students to live independently.’

The briefing states that ‘supporting students to access housing which is affordable, where they are awarded full legal rights as tenants, and are able to live in a household of their choosing, will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the lives of students, and equally on their rates of attendance and attainment.’

The briefing also encourages universities to offer guarantor schemes, stating that doing so ‘is likely to act as an incentive for students to choose to study at your institution […] makes a strong statement about the values and ethos of the institution for both current and prospective students […] and would also support the institution’s widening participation objectives.’

The NUS briefing on university guarantor schemes can be found by clicking here.