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Students face cost of living crisis


The National Union of Students (NUS) have claimed that students are facing a financial shortfall of more than £7,600 a year as loans and grants are failing to keep pace with rent and the cost of living.

The NUS compared the cost of lining and studying for the 39-week academic year of 2013-2014 with the typical income from government loans and grants to find the shortfall. The NUS further went on to say that whilst the price of rent, bills and other outgoings continue to rise above the rate of inflation, loan rates have been frozen for this academic year and will only rise by 1% next year, further exacerbating the shortfall.

The report estimated that the cost of studying and living is around £21,440 when including tuition fees, books, equipment, rent, travel and other living expenses. However, the potential income available through loans and grants for those on low incomes is just £13,747 a year, leaving a total shortfall of £7,693.

Additionally, the level at which less-well off families can claim support has been frozen since 2008, meaning that only students with a total household income of £25,000 or less can claim support, meaning many students are becoming unable to claim support, despite not being in a position where they can receive funding off their parents.

NUS president Toni Pearce 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 pay day lenders just to make ends meet.” The president further went on to say, "we need a financial support system that ensures students get the support they need, when they need it."

However, a spokesperson for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills defended the levels of government support, claiming that the government's student finance package was designed to target support at students from the poorest households and that some additional scholarships and bursaries were available to students in hardship.

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