Students are being short-changed by more than £7,600 a year. The National Union of Students (NUS) has found that loans and grants do not cover the average cost of living for students.
Rent, bills and other outgoings are continuing to rise above inflation however student loan rates have been frozen for this academic year with an expected maximum increase of only 1%. The report, published by the NUS has estimated that the cost of living for students over the 39-week academic year is around £21,440. The maximum amount of support available from Student Finance England is only £13,747 leaving a shortfall of at least £7,693.
Recent changes have also meant those from less well-off families who are unable to receive support from their parents are unable to claim support. Only students with a total household income of £25,000 or less can claim support, a level which has been frozen since 2008.
NUS president Toni Pearce said: “Those who do not have the rare luxury of resorting to the ‘bank of mum and dad’ are increasingly being driven to work full-time alongside study where jobs can be found, or worse still, into the arms of predatory pay day lenders just to make ends meet.” The president further went on to say, “we need a financial support system that ensures students get the support they need, when they need it.”
However, a spokesperson for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills defended the levels of government support, claiming that some additional scholarships and bursaries were available to students in hardship and that the government’s student finance package was designed to target support at students from the poorest households.
– News Editor