Student representatives at the Australian National University say some students won't be able to return to their residences next year because of a 6.7 per cent increase in tariffs.
Christian Flynn, chairman of the Interhall Council which represents 10 residential halls at ANU, said some students couldn't afford the tariff rise, especially during a recession.
"I myself have heard members of my community say that they will not be able to return next year," Mr Flynn said.
The Interhall Council wrote an open letter to vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt voicing concerns about the price rise as well as pastoral care staffing levels and handling of student feedback.
Members from seven halls will be participating in digital protest action on Saturday, which coincides with the start of ANU's virtual open week.
The students said Burton and Garran, Ursula and Bruce Halls have had only one person in the position of head of hall or deputy head of hall for several months, putting strain on the sole responsible staff member and hindering residents' relationship with management.
The recruitment process is underway to fill those positions but Mr Flynn said it should have been started earlier
"The staff hiring process could definitely have occurred in time for the return of students or shortly afterwards."
Wamburun Hall remains without a deputy head of hall position.
An ANU spokesman said the university would consult students about future increases and was committed to ensuring that future tariff increases had as minimal financial impact on residents as possible.
"The price of our student accommodation rises by CPI every year, plus increased service costs, for example, utilities," the spokesman said.
He said the tariff was below market rate for Canberra rental accommodation and that financial assistance was available to residents who needed it.
Students questioned how the tariff had been calculated since the Consumer Price Index in Canberra declined in the June quarter.
The ANU spokesman said the university had increased pastoral support in residences in 2020.
"Further increases for 2021 are under consideration, including in Wamburun Hall as well as increased debriefing support for senior residents and consistency of remuneration of community coordinators."