A ‘student living crisis’ is looming as government maintenance loans fail to keep up with rising living costs, according to the National Union of Students (NUS).

The NUS’ research compared the cost of basics such as food, rent and travel over the academic year, with typical government maintenance loans. It found that students will be cut short by an average of £7,693. In an Impact poll, students surveyed at the University of Nottingham were asked ‘Does your Student Finance (Maintenance Loans and/or Grants) cover all your living costs?’; 180 respondents said no, whilst only 10 said yes. Most UoN students also commented that the government maintenance loan only just covers their rent.

University students living outside of London spend an average of £21,440. £12,160 is allocated to living costs, whilst the rest is spent on tuition fees and study-related costs. This is in comparison to an average income from loans and grants of just £13,747.

Students will be cut short by an average of £7,693

Toni Pearce, the NUS President 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 payday lenders just to make ends meet.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills maintained that “The student finance package targets limited Government resources at those who need it most. This year, students from the lowest income households can access over £7,100 of living cost support, of which over £3,350 does not have to be repaid.”

The University of Nottingham’s Financial Services’ website lists the average costs of living in Nottingham as £800 per month, so £7,200 a year. This is slightly more than the maximum amount of funding that you can receive from the government. Students from a household income of less than £25,000 will receive Maintenance Loans and Grants totaling around £7,125.

The average costs of living in Nottingham are £7,200 a year

The University does offer a Core Guaranteed Bursary which is based on household income. At least a third of students are eligible for this bursary which ranges from £750 up to £3,000 per year. There are also a number of scholarships, although these have application criteria and are limited.

Caroline Chan

@ImpactNottsNews

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1 Comment

  1. A
    October 17, 2013 at 12:49 — Reply

    This article shows a lack of understanding of the student fees system amongst students. If your student loan doesn’t cover your rent and living costs, it’s probably because your household income has been deemed high enough that your parents are expected to make a contribution. If your parents are just stingy, don’t cry poverty because you definitely are not struggling to make ends meet. It’s insulting to those students whose parents genuinely cannot give them money, let alone will not give them money.

    Also, as the article says, whilst those who get the maximum loans fall below Nottingham’s average cost of living, they get a very substantial bursary which takes them £1000 over the average living costs. That can more than cover two nights out a week plus a drunken McDonalds over the entire academic year.

    If people are going to demand more money in loans, the government will start demanding that universities cuts places, which the NUS will have a fit over. There’s not an unlimited amount of money in the Treasury and some students need to realise that. Our national debt is spiralling out of control, and if students think they should get more money over that of an NHS patient or an elderly person, they should re-evaluate their lives.

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