The public believe students should go rent-free if they do not use their private or college accommodation in the coming term because of the Coronavirus.
Universities and colleges have told students to stay at their family bases if at all possible for the indefinite future in line with the government’s broader lockdown. Most students were already staying with their parents at the end of the festive break when the lockdown was imposed.
Now a YouGov poll of some 9,000 people shows 54 per cent believe students unable to use their private rented properties or purpose-built college accommodation should not have to pay rent until they return.
Among the rest of those polled 30 per cent believe students should be given a discount but only five per cent said students should have to pay rent in full.
There are an estimated 1.8m students privately renting - some are overseas students likely to have remained in the accommodation over the Christmas break, but the vast majority will be at parental homes now, for weeks or months to come.
The YouGov poll is highly detailed and shows a majority in favour of the no-rent status across all age sectors, across all social grades, and across men and women.
In terms of political allegiance of the respondents, 46 per cent of Conservative voters favour the no-rent policy - 53 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters and 67 per cent of Labour voters agree.
Those polled were asked: “Do you think students who are unable to return to their student accommodation due to lockdown should still have to pay rent as normal or not?"