A Fife student has given up his £783 a month residence in Edinburgh after hardly spending any time on campus.
Bailey-Lee Robb, who is a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Cowdenbeath, started his social policy degree earlier this year but decided to move back home to Lochgelly after coronavirus restrictions meant he was almost never in a classroom.
“While the government and the universities are saying it’s blended learning, it’s definitely not blended learning,” he said.
“I have one hour a month on campus.
“The thing is I don’t even need to be on campus for that hour a month because they run the exact same session online an hour after.
“I’m not actually missing anything.
“Paying out £783 a month for accommodation plus living costs is not viable.”
Edinburgh University is allowing students choosing to return home to cut short their lease contracts.
Meanwhile, those who will not be returning straight away when term starts in January, because of a planned phased return of students, have been given the option of a rent rebate.
The university was invited to comment but declined.
“If we decided to stay here from January we’re going to kick ourselves because we’ve paid for an expense we don’t need,” said Bailey-Lee.
“What I’m finding is a lot of students have decided to come home.
“It’s disappointing on the one hand but also a relief on the other because I’m not having to pay £700-odd a month any more. I’ll be able to save up for a deposit on a flat next year.”
Bailey-Lee, 18, tested positive for Covid-19 in October, just days after speaking to The Courier about the challenges facing students during the pandemic. At the time, a number of students at his accommodation block, Brae House, were self-isolating.
Two months on, he is still not fully recovered and continues to experience muscle pains.
“They suspect I have this long covid as still in a lot of pain,” he added.
But he said his illness was not the main factor in his decision to move back to Fife.
And the MYSP is looking forward to getting more involved in his community again while at home and hopes he can move back to Edinburgh for the start of his second year in September.
He said: “It also means I can return to my part-time job, return to the foodbank and volunteer.”