Queen's University has given more than 1,200 rent holidays to students moving out of its accommodation for 13 weeks over the second Covid-19 wave - however, there are now calls for the contract suspension to continue.
The initial break was offered from October 9 to January 9, with the university forking out at least £1.8m in refunds, based on the students in the lowest priced accommodation taking the rent holiday.
The move triggered almost 45% of its 3,361 rooms to be vacated, with data showing 3,106 students were living in these halls at the start of the term.
Most of the rooms vacated were in its largest Elms BT9 student village site on the Malone Road, where 859 students packed their bags and left, with this number including those living in the Queen's houses.
Meanwhile, in the university's two city centre sites, Elms BT1 and BT2, which only opened in September 2018, 388 rooms were temporarily cleared out.
This mass exodus of students from Belfast in early October came amidst rising infection rates within the halls with 180 coronavirus infections up to October 19 being confirmed by Queen's University.
The figures were disclosed after a Freedom of Information request by this newspaper.
More than half of these Covid-19 cases were confirmed in one week alone between September 28 and October 4, when 94 students at the halls of residence were diagnosed with the virus.
In a similar time period, from September 29 to October 5, 346 students informed the university that they were self-isolating.
These are just some of the 526 students who were forced to self-isolate up until October 19 - around 17% of the total number who were living in university-managed accommodation.
There are now calls for such a contract break to be offered again, especially in light of a potential surge in cases after Christmas, along with the six-week lockdown which starts from Saturday.
Ellen Fearon, president of NUS-USI, whichs represent students across the island of Ireland said: "Students who are subject to any kind of lockdown period should have rent reimbursements for that time.
"Many students came back to their campuses after being promised blended learning. Changes to restrictions now mean they are wondering why they spent thousands on housing contracts they no longer need."
A spokesperson for Queen's University said: "The university agreed to pause contractual obligations from October 9, 2020 to January 9, 2021 for students living in Queen's accommodation who wished to return home to complete their studies for the remainder of the first semester.
"We are keeping this under review for the second semester.
"Our accommodation remains a safe and welcoming environment and the university has put in place extensive safety measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff."