Universities UK (UUK) is urging Liz Truss and the new government to help and support students more who are impacted by the cost of living crisis.
University leaders are asking for immediate and targeted help from the next government for students struggling with the cost of living crisis. This comes after polling by Savanta ComRes for Universities UK showed financial hardship among students is building to a crisis point.
Student cost of living crisis
According to the poll, 67% of students in higher education are concerned about managing their living costs this autumn, rising to 85% of students aged over 30.
Of those, over half (55%) say this might prevent them from continuing their studies. Cost of living anxiety is greater among older, postgraduate students and those who work or have caring responsibilities.
Alongside this analysis from Universities UK shows that most government measures designed to alleviate the cost of living pressures are unlikely to reach the vast majority of students, as they are mainly targeted toward those on means-tested benefits, pensioners and families.
UUK Urges government to help
In response to the findings, UUK and university leaders are urging to the government to do more to help students who will struggle as prices continue to rise.
Universities are calling for:
- Targeted government hardship funding for UK students
- The reinstatement of maintenance grants for those most in need
- Action to ensure that support for students is protected against inflation
- Increased financial support for postgraduate researchers
- Ensuring that any government action to support people with rising costs, such as energy, can be accessed by students across the UK, including those in halls
Professor Steve West CBE, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, said: ‘The government must step forward to work with us to provide extra funding for those students sadly struggling through this crisis.
‘With inflation reaching record highs and energy bills soaring they need extra support right now, before they decide their living costs are so high that they can’t afford to continue with their studies. The links between financial stress and poor mental health are clear – and this is likely to put increasing pressure on the NHS.
‘It’s time to bring back the maintenance grant and make sure it keeps pace with inflation. Universities are targeting available hardship funding where it is needed the most, but with the value of maintenance loans falling to its lowest level in seven years, this will not be enough for many.
‘We need immediate action from the new cabinet to help students through the difficult winter ahead.’