Early data from the Irish Universities Association suggests that some students are putting their education and college experience on hold because of the scarcity and high cost of accommodation.

University of Galway has said that of the 300 students who have deferred, 92 cited accommodation issues as the reason.

Trinity College has seen a 20% increase in deferral requests from CAO Round 1 and 10% say accommodation is the reason.

Deputy President and Registrar at University of Galway Pól Ó Dochartaigh said the college is hearing a lot of stories of students having difficulty in finding accommodation.

"We're hearing a lot of stories here and I have to say that our accommodation office - and it's the same in all of the universities up and down the country - are working day and night to try and assist students to find accommodation.

"And we're getting accommodation in all sorts of places, under all sorts of schemes, private and in the universities."

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said it is too early to say definitively whether there will be a problem across the board and it is also too early to definitively say that it is broadly in line with previous years.

"It's definitely evidenced, clearly evidenced in all of the universities that we are having to work much, much harder to help students find accommodation this year than we have had to do in previous years."

Prof Ó Dochartaigh said accommodation offices across the country are working very hard to find housing for students. He said as many as 8% of students defer every year anyway, and he urged people not to give up searching yet as many factors could mean that accommodation will become available.

He said more student accommodation needs to be built, especially on college campuses. He said funds need to be made available by the Government to encourage this type of purpose-built development that will be more affordable. However, he said rent for these rooms is incredibly high due to building costs.

"We opened up a new hall of residence a year ago with 430 additional beds. We've got a project currently building that will open next autumn with 670 beds, but the price of those beds is phenomenal. It's over €100,000 per bed to build that accommodation and in order for that to fund itself, therefore the rent for those rooms is actually not where we would like it to be and not where a lot of students can afford."

The only way to make the accommodation more affordable Prof Ó Dochartaigh said is if the Government subsidises that so that we can actually build more.

"We won't build more cheaply, but Government will pay part of it, so the university doesn't have to recoup the full cost through the rents."