New NUS figures reveal that many students are struggling to meet the basic cost of living.
The National Union of Students (NUS) have released new figures which show a student living crisis emerging over the course of the 2013/14 academic year. As it is, many students are already struggling to keep up with the demands of essential everyday expenses; with upfront living costs being the main concern. The figures reveal how students are facing an estimated average funding shortfall of around £7,000.
According to the statistics, the average student expenditure is over £21,440 (in London this is even higher). Yet the government’s typical payments for maintenance loans and grants within the same period is only £13,747, leaving students with a massive gap of £7,693.Whilst students are entitled to a loan for their fees; the maintenance loan appears to have not kept pace with rising living costs, placing more pressure on students who regularly worry about the cost of crucial items such as rent, travel, food, books and utility bills.
Toni Pearce, President of the NUS, has reiterated this view by saying that the “available financial support in loans and grants are failing to keep pace with spiralling bills for basic essentials” making it clear that students “need a financial support system that ensures students get what support they need, when they need it.”
These figures are even more concerning because not all students meet the requirements to gain extra financial support. Rent, bills and other expenditures all continue to rise above the rate of inflation. But the level at which students get maximum support, a household income of £25,000, has remained the same for the last five years. Grants and loan rates were also frozen this year and will only rise by 1 per cent next year.
To come up with the necessary extra cash many students are driven into full time work on top of their undergraduate studies. But with a drop in the number of jobs for young people and the doubling of the cost of student accommodation some are running out of options and are being forced into the dangerous arms of pay day lenders.