Department of Education's £15 Million In Universities Funding Isn't Enough
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Department of Education's £15 Million In Universities Funding Isn't Enough

Jasmyne Jeffery January 12, 2023

The Department of Education has announced an additional £15 million in university funding will be given. The additional funding is just one of three financial announcements made concerning university students during the cost of living crisis.

Yesterday, (January 11), the government finally made a financial commitment to university students during the cost-of-living crisis. Before now, it had been up to the universities to help financially support students, as well as check in on their mental health and study arrangements during the crisis. Now, the most disadvantaged students are receiving help from the government.

£15 Million Announced In Additional University Funding

The announcement today comes after university leaders and the NUS have called for government help for months. There were worries students would leave their courses and even the opening of food banks to help provide for students who needed it the most.

The Independent reports that Robert Haflon, the minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, said the following about the funding:

“Today we are making a one-off reallocation of funding so we can add £15 million to this year’s student premium, enabling extra hardship awards to be made to tens of thousands of disadvantaged students.

“This extra funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own, bursary, scholarship and hardship support schemes.”

The £15 million will be going towards a hardship fund for students in response to the rise in inflation over the last few months. The government say that the £15 million “builds on the significant £261 million that the government has already provided to the Office for Students (OfS) for the 2022/23 academic year which universities can draw upon to boost their own hardship funds.”

In their announcement on the government website, the Department of Education recognised what different universities have done to support students. However, they also clarified that it is the universities’ responsibility to ensure that students are financially cared for.

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The Government Had Made Further Financial Plans For Universities

As well as the additional funding, other financial plans have been announced. However, it isn’t enough to actually support students.

For another academic year, the Department of Education has frozen tuition fees. Whilst they’re framing this as helping students, it actually isn’t a change and won’t help them in the short term. This is the sixth year in a row that tuition fees have been frozen at £9250. And, whilst it’s great it isn’t going up, no one was expecting it to either.

They’ve also announced that there will be an increase in maintenance loans and grants given to students:

“loans and grants to support undergraduate and postgraduate students with living and other costs will be increased by 2.8% for the 2023/24 academic year.”

An increase in money is certainly helpful. But a 2.8 per cent rise doesn’t really compare with the inflation rise over the last year. This increase still means that students will be fighting a losing battle using their maintenance loans against the cost of living crisis.

Additionally, the academic year doesn’t start until September. Until then, students will have to rely on their struggling universities for financial help during some of the most stressful times of their life.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.