As young people across the UK prepare to head to university, the National Union of Students (NUS) has warned many are struggling to afford living and learning costs – and warned many will be living in poverty this autumn.
A students cost of living survey, conducted by the NUS in June, found a third had less than £50 a month left after paying rent and bills and one in 10 reported using food banks.
In addition to escalating energy costs, students are also paying higher prices for accommodation. According to the NUS’s most recent accommodation costs survey with Unipol, the average student rent has risen 61 per cent in the last 10 years – higher than house prices in the same period. At £6,227 a year, the average cost of university accommodation alone exceeds the average student maintenance loan of £5,640.
- Revealed: The areas set to be hit hardest by soaring energy bills
- Supermarket Iceland is offering loans to help people with their food shop
The NUS also warned that with universities unable to guarantee accommodation, students could be forced into the more expensive private rental sector, where rent averages £8,002 per year.
Many students rely on support from family and friends – 53 per cent rely on them financially and 40 per cent have reached out to family and friends for loans. However, one third of students have said the cost of living crisis has impacted those who support them. Many students are relying on credit to make ends meet: one third use credit cards, 24 per cent use buy now, pay later schemes, and 12 per cent have taken out bank loans.
Many universities provide hardship funds for students in need, but not every student will meet the criteria for this funding. And while money-saving tips might provide some temporary relief, an NUS spokesperson said: “As energy bills and inflation continue to soar, we fear that no amount of budgeting and saving is going to stop students falling into poverty this autumn.”