Universities are appealing for student landlords to step in and solve accommodation shortages across the country.
Hundreds of students are without beds as many universities have overbooked halls or found building works have lagged behind schedule.
Students in York are complaining that they cannot find on-campus halls accommodation, which is forcing them to pay up to twice the price to rent a room in private halls or from shared house student landlords.
Private halls in the city can cost £153.23 a week, while the charge is just £79.24 a week on campus.
About 250 students are believed to be seeking homes in the city.
A York University spokesman said: “We completely understand people’s concerns – we know it can be stressful thinking about where you are going to live and preparing for University life – do continue to contact us if you have any questions or ongoing issues.
“The reason why it’s taking us longer than usual is because we’ve had a much higher intake of students this year – which is of course really positive for students who have been successful in getting a place on a course here, but it also means that there are simply not enough rooms on campus to go around.”
Another 200 students at Oxford Brookes University also face starting term without accommodation, mainly because a new housing block is still under construction.
Meanwhile, around 40 are staying at a hotel in the city.
A Students Union spokesman said: “People were reporting a shortage of houses in the city, but it was purely just a slower process than normal trying to allocate places in halls.
“After a week, only one of the first choice students was without a place. To my knowledge, there is not a student without a place in either the private or university sector.”
Meanwhile, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, is leafleting more than 60,000 homes in the city in to find beds for 134 students.
The university has provided 1,872 beds to students, but has run out of rooms.