Glasgow University students have been told they will not be guaranteed accommodation this year.
An update sent out to new students explained that an “unprecedented number of applications” meant demand exceeded availability.
Students were previously told they would be “guaranteed an offer of accommodation” if they applied by the deadline of July 14.
Now, those who live within commuting distance have been told they definitely won’t be offered a room, while others face an anxious wait.
With little over a month to make alternative arrangements, students told STV News they were outraged and panicking at the prospect of finding suitable places to live, with private student halls already at capacity and high rental prices in the city.
David Watt, from Fraserburgh, is due to start a Masters in food security, but fears his “entire life plans could change”
He said: “I have to either find something or I’m looking at another year of wondering what to do with myself.
“If [the university] makes a promise, they should at least help me. Getting an email back saying ‘sorry, we can’t do anything’ is just not on.”
David’s mother Averil believes he has been seriously let down by the university.
She said: “He really would like the opportunity to meet people, to make friends and we thought halls would be great for that, but that’s just not looking like it’s going to happen, which is so disappointing.
“The thought of paying a fortune for rent and then with the energy bill crisis… I don’t want him sitting shivering because the place is frozen and damp.”
Another mum, Lynne Mackintosh, from Edinburgh, is worried her son won’t go to university without accommodation.
She said: “Having overcome the Covid disruption to his education and sitting formal exams for the first time in S6, we really thought Archie had triumphed on Tuesday morning to secure a place at Glasgow to study economics.
“By five o’clock the same day, that dream was trashed.
“Looking at private rental and private halls, absolutely nothing is showing as available. We feel so stupid to have trusted the university when they said they’d guarantee a place for first years, as we declined offers from other universities.”
A Glasgow University spokesperson said: “Regrettably, due to a significant contraction in the private rental market, demand for rooms continues to be substantially ahead of expectation and we are no longer in a position to provide guaranteed university accommodation.
“Despite having increased the number of rooms under university management by 25 per cent for the new academic year, we are having to prioritise accommodation for students who are unable to travel from home.
“We understand the concern students have about finding accommodation for the new semester.
“While we are unable to offer accommodation for students living within reasonable commuting distance, we will continue to check regularly on the availability of private provider accommodation and will share updates when we have them.”