Current Students

Things aren’t perhaps the clearest as to what should be on a college bill, how much it should cost and where all that money goes.

Hopefully this section should help in clarifying some common questions, let you check that your college bill is correct and explain how the ballot system works.

Rent Bands & Charges

Undergraduate rooms are on two sites, the main Trumpington Road site known as the Island Site, and the St Chad’s buildings that are about 15 minutes’ walk away.

Student Bills include charges for the facilities you enjoy in the College, as follows:

Accommodation charges

From October 2016 this will include the cost of the room and utilities i.e. electricity, gas (for heating), water and broadband connection, including where available the costs of Wi-Fi. Rooms have been divided into eight price bands on the Island Site and two bands at St Chad’s for charging purposes. The JCR Committee and the Bursar review the allocation of rooms to bands every few years, so if you have any comments about the banding of your room please contact the JCR Accommodation Officer, Paul Gardner. The most expensive undergraduate rooms are priced approximately 50% higher than the cheapest ones to offer students breadth of choice.

Unfortunately water, gas and electric meters are not ideally placed to measure usage in specific areas of College e.g. by staircases. Therefore, costs are averaged across the Island rooms but separately across St Chad’s rooms. The College purchases its energy in a consortium with other colleges, at costs below domestic prices.

Rooms are allocated as follows:

  • Freshers are allocated the rooms on the Island Site not previously chosen by those students who will form the third year (see below). There is an option in August (we contact you when we have received your public examination results) to specify whether or not you have a preference for a cheaper room, but the choice is more limited for freshers.
  • In the middle of your first year, there is a random ballot to rank students who then choose rooms in the St Chad’s site, which is where second year students live. Rooms at St Chad’s are grouped into flats, which each comprise 4-5 study bedrooms with shared bathrooms and gyp rooms.
  • In the middle of your second year, there are two random ballots, one for Scholars (i.e. those achieving first class marks in their first year examinations), which ranks the students, and the Scholars then pick from the Island Site rooms for the third year in that ranked order. The second is for all other second year students, and they pick from the remaining Island Site rooms for their third year. Linguists going abroad for their third year pick the rooms they will occupy in their fourth year at this point in time.
  • Although it is impossible to provide a 100% guarantee, the College expects to be able to provide accommodation in their fourth year for all undergraduates on a planned four year course, provided that they register and confirm interest in college accommodation by the deadlines set and circulated annually.

The College Dean has the right to override room allocations for disciplinary reasons. Such cases, while rare, are likely to place a student in a room of a lower band that the original room choice, and no refunds or reductions are available in such cases.

Kitchen Fixed Charge (KFC)

An important part of the Collegial nature of the student experience in Cambridge is eating together, which has been a facet of College life since the foundation of the University. The College maintains a year-round catering operation in Hall and the Coffee Shop with a high level of fixed costs such as wages, equipment maintenance and replacement. In addition the College provides modest cooking facilities in student accommodation, known as gyp rooms, and a College Bar with prices a little below those in the town. The costs of providing meals and facilities for students are recovered in three ways:

  1. A fixed termly charge, the KFC, which covers part of the fixed costs explained above. The KFC varies between the Island and St Chad’s, primarily because Hall and the Bar/Coffee Shop are on the Island Site, and hence more accessible to those living on the Island Site.
  2. Charges for each meal, in cafeteria, coffee shop and formal hall, and for drinks in the bar
  3. Primarily in the vacations, the College (like all other colleges) allows external conferences and meetings to use its meeting rooms and catering facilities. These customers pay significantly more than students for meals etc. This activity effectively subsidises the term-time student catering, including enabling us to provide some major functions free to students (including the Matriculation and Graduation Dinners).

The JCR officers and the bursar in Lent term negotiate changes to accommodation charges and KFC each year, for the following year.

It is your responsibility to check that your college bill is correct. Please use the following as a guide:

Rent Band Price
1 £692
2 £750
3 £807
4 £865
5 £922
6 £980
7 £1,037
8a £1,069
8 £1,083
9 £1,114
10 £1,128
Kitchen Fixed Charge
1st Years £156
2nd Years £95
3rd Years £156
4th Years £47

Heating & Lighting
Island Site £117
St Chads (including old house) £129

Bill Explanation

Here is a list of common things that will appear on your college bill, and a short description about them:


Rent is the cost of your room during the 10-week period of residence. The amount will vary depending on which rent band your room is in.

Kitchen Fixed Charge (KFC)

A cost to subsidise the prices in normal and formal hall. N.B. This does not have anything to do with gyp rooms/other shared cooking facilities or the college bar, only the college kitchens.

Heating and Lighting (H&L)

This covers average heating and lighting costs for student rooms. The price is different for the Island site and Chad’s to reflect different usage between sites.

Out-of-term Rent

If you stay in college accommodation outside of term time, then the cost will be added to your next college bill. Unless it is part of a rent contract, the cost should be a fixed rate of £16.50 a day regardless of room. KFC/H&L charges over vacations are also included in this figure.

Formal Halls/Special Dinners

All formal hall charges and some special dinners (e.g. college society dinners, if they have been organised in such a way) will appear on your college bill.

JCR Subscription

This is a modest charge that goes into funding the JCR so that we can provide nice things like pool and table football.

JCR Donation

This is an even more modest charge that is donated to the JCR selected charities.

Society Subscription

A small charge that goes into the running of societies.

Electrical Testing

Helps pay for the PAT testing that is required every year.

Stash etc.

Some stash or other society products can be paid for via your college bill.


College offers 4 different rent contracts to undergraduates (subject to room choice and year). Freshers are only allowed to have option 1. Contracts can be chosen between the end of the ballots in Easter term and mid-September – they cannot be changed during the academic year. All occupants of a flat/set must agree to the same rent contract.

Option 1

This covers the three 10-week periods of residence (PoR) only and is the default option for all rooms. Staying in your room outside of the PoRs or leaving your stuff in the room will incur additional charges and possibly removal of your belongings by college.

Option 2

Rooms eligible: All of I, J, K and Woodlark staircases.

This is a nine-month contract which allows you to stay in your room over both the Christmas and Easter vacations in addition to the standard PoRs (except for the Christmas/New Year locking up period). The additional cost will be £11.50 a day for all of the Christmas and Easter vacations.

Option 3

Rooms eligible:

  • All of A, B, I, J, K and Woodlark staircases.
  • All of Hobsons except Hobs 2 (used as a linen room)
  • Fourth floor Bull and Gostlin
  • First and Fourth floor E
  • M1, M2, L3, L4
  • Chad’s 53, 54, 55 and all of Old House

This option allows you to keep your room during the Easter vacation only (in addition to the PoRs). The charge outside of term time will be £11.50 a day for all of the Easter vacation.

Option 4

Rooms eligible: Same as Option 3

This option is more flexible than options 2 and 3, allowing you to stay in your room for part of the Christmas/Easter vacations providing you book them by the appropriate deadlines. You are not obliged to book any dates, and your contract will behave just like option 1 unless you do book. Any bookings in the vacations will be charged at £16.50 a day.

Please note: the above is not the actual contracts. If you occupy/store your possessions in your room outside of any agreed dates then you will be charged as if you are staying in the room, and college may remove your possessions.

Those whose rooms are not eligible for alternate contracts

It is still possible to stay in college during the vacations, however you will be required to change rooms and it is not guaranteed that you can stay if you are not a finalist. About halfway through Michaelmas/Lent term, the Head Porter sends an email to the JCR asking who would like to stay up in college during the vacations. Staying in college this way will likely cost £16.50 a day.

Ballots & 4th Year


Students pick their own room for their 2nd and 3rd years. The order in which people pick is determined by a random ballot, usually the day before Easter term begins. All 2nd years live on the Chad’s site, and so have a separate ballot which is conducted in flats of 4 or 5. The 3rd year ballot is split into the Scholar’s ballot and the regular ballot. Those who obtained a first class mark in their 1st year are included in the Scholar’s ballot and pick their rooms ahead of the regular ballot. Details about the ballots will begin to be circulated towards the end of Lent term.

Linguists have a slightly more complicated process due to their year abroad. We are currently trialling a new approach to try and make the ballots fairer for everyone. Linguists take part in the 3rd year ballot during Easter of their 2nd year, but pick a room for the year after next which is reserved for them. They can only pick rooms which non-linguists would be able to pick at their position in the ballot. Afterwards, the room they have been picked can be chosen by a non-linguist. In their abroad year, linguists will be given the opportunity to re-enter the ballot. Doing so will forfeit their current reserved room which is irreversible (once you opt back in, there is no opting out again). They must also nominate a proxy in college to choose their room in the event that they can’t be contacted on the day. This is a temporary approach and is subject to change.

4th Year Accommodation

Many students, especially in the sciences, stay on to do a 4th year and require accommodation in Cambridge. However, due to the limited amount of rooms in college, it cannot guarantee that 4th years will get a room. College is working on fixing this and has recently invested with other colleges in nearby property with the intention of using it for 4th years.

Returning linguists are not counted as 4th years in this respect and will get a room in college.