You’ll receive your offer of University accommodation by email once your place at the University becomes unconditional, which for most students will be after the examination results are announced in the summer.
If you’ve had your place confirmed at Birmingham and are eligible under the Freshers’ Guarantee Scheme, this will usually be 10 working days after UK A-level results are published in August. Students who hold unconditional places prior to August 1st will be allocated accommodation in July. Clearing, insurance and late applicants can still apply for accommodation but your application may take longer to process and a place cannot be guaranteed.
To secure your accommodation, you’ll need to make a pre-payment of £550 immediately or alternatively pay your accommodation fee in full. If you choose to make a pre-payment only then you will need to either pay in full before the start of your accommodation contract or by instalments during the year.
How does the allocation process work?
Allocation of accommodation is done in two waves. The first wave is completed in July, for students who hold unconditional places at the University. The second wave takes place in mid-August, once the majority of students have had their places confirmed following the publication of exam results.
In both waves, all students who have applied for accommodation and have unconditional places accepted at the University are processed by the allocations system, which allocates students in a random order to their preferred accommodation. Students who are amongst the first to be allocated in that wave are most likely to be allocated to their most preferred accommodation. As we have a number of accommodation sites, inevitably some and more popular than others. Students who are allocated towards the end of that wave may have more limited options available. For each student, the allocation system will seek to find an available room which matches the preferences that student selected on their application form. Where options are limited, the system will try to find the best possible match to the preferences.
The order of allocations is done randomly by an allocations software system to ensure fairness to all applicants.
The random allocation system has been introduced following student feedback to replace the 'first come - first served' process which was previously in operation. This new system is considered to be fairer to students who may not have been able to apply for their accommodation as early as other applicants.
How likely am I to be allocated my preferred accommodation?
It depends on a number of factors. Firstly, how early you are allocated in the process is the most important factor, as clearly there will be a greater number of options available for those applications which are allocated first. This factor is therefore purely a random one, generated by the software system.
Secondly, the popularity of the accommodation you have chosen will be a significant factor. Rooms in Mason, Jarratt Hall, Shackleton, Ashcroft and Maple Bank are all usually over-subscribed. Should you apply for one of the sites with the highest demand, you may find that there are no rooms left at that site when your application is processed, especially if you are processed later in the allocation. In this event, the system will then look for availability at your next preference. This will continue until the system finds a room in order of your preferences. Should you be allocated later in the process and have selected some of the most popular locations as your highest preferences, you may find that you are allocated to some of the lower preferences on your application. This is why we encourage you to use all six of your preferences (you are required to have a minimum of four) as this gives you the best chance of getting one of your preferred accommodation preferences. There is no benefit to not using all of your preferences.
Students who hold an unconditional offer for Birmingham, are allocated in the first wave of allocations, usually in July each summer. These students stand a greater chance of getting their preferred accommodation. However, students who have unconditional offers are in the minority and all locations will still have high levels of availability when the majoriity of students are allocated in August.
Can I find out where my application is in the allocation process?
It is not possible to find out where you are in the allocation process, nor would that information necessarily tell you how likely you are to get your preferred accommodation, due to the complex factors which affect an accommodation allocation. These include the popularity of a particular location, the preferences of those students who have been allocated first, the distribution of single sex and mixed gender flats and any cancelled bookings which may make additional rooms unexpectedly available later in the process.
I have not heard anything about my allocation yet and it has been a week since my place was confirmed - does this mean I am being allocated later in the process?
Not necessarily. During the summer we have to allocate accommodation to nearly 6000 students. In order to manage the process effectively, and to manage demand on the portal servers and those answering calls and emails, offers of accommodation are sent out in email batches. These batches do not necessarily reflect the order of allocation. We also sometimes wait before we issue a new batch of offers, as in any previous batches there may have been some offers which were cancelled or expired, and so these rooms may be re-allocated, increasing the chances of students getting their preferred accommodation.
What should I do if I am not happy with my offer of accommodation?
If you are not happy with your offer of accommodation, generally we would encourage you to contact us to discuss the options. However, we would caution that during the peak allocation season (the fortnight after A-Level exam results are published in mid-August), it is unlikely we will be able to change your accommodaton allocation unless there has been a significant error or there is a unresolvable issue with your allocation. We would also advise that during this period our telephone lines are in high demand and you may have to wait to speak to somebody.
Please be aware that the accommodation allocation system would have found a room from your prefernces had one been available, and so if you are unhappy with the offer you have received this is the most likely reason that you may not have received your preferred accommodation.
Can I add Meal Plan to my self-catered accommodation? Can I remove Meal Plan from my accommodation allocation?
Should you be allocated to a self catered room but wish to have Meal Plan, you can either request to be allocated to a Meal Plan location (if available) or you can add Meal Plan to your accommodation contract.
Meal Plan makes up part of your accommodation contract, and so if you are offered a Meal Plan room and wish to be self catered, you will need to request a room at a different location. This is because meal plan accommodation is located together within the same buildings or blocks for a variety of reasons. One signifcant reason is proximity to outlets where food is available (the majority of Meal Plan accommodation is clustered around The Hub). Meal Plan is also a very social experience - a flat of six may choose to go to dinner together in Infusion, whereas residents of a self catered flat may choose to cook or shop together. This also ensures that flatmates who share a kitchen use those facilties in a similiar way, and this helps to avoid potential conflict, such as whose responsibility it is to do the washing up - as all flatmates are using the facilties to more or less the same degree.
Can I change my accommodation after I have moved in?
We offer a transfer system for students who wish to change their accommodation for whatever reason, subject to availability. The option to transfer begins in the middle of October, allowing students a couple of weeks to settle in and then decide if they still wish to change accommodation. Students with more urgent issues are advised to speak to the Living team. Please note that there is a £50 administration charge for transfers which includes the change to the internet connection, cleaning and adminstration costs. Please note that it is not possible to transfer from partner provider accommodation to University accommodation.