Study suggests students consider dropping out because of cost-of-living crisis
The impact of the UK’s cost of living crisis on university students has led one in five to consider dropping out, according to a new study by the Russell Group Students’ Unions.
The study of more than 8,500 students found that one in four regularly go without food and other essentials, while more than half said that their academic performance suffered as a result of the cost of living crisis. Students also reported having to take on additional paid work to cover costs, concentration issues caused by a lack of food and financial worries, and skipping lectures because they couldn’t afford travel fares.
These national findings mirror those of a recent Exeposé survey, where 31 per cent of responding students said that they had considered dropping out due to financial worries.
The study also highlights the disproportionate impact of the cost of living crisis on students from marginalised backgrounds, particularly international students, who are not permitted to work more than 20 hours a week. Russell Group Students’ Unions called on the government to address flaws in the maintenance loans system, raise loans in line with inflation from 2020/21, reintroduce maintenance grants for the most disadvantaged students and review the parental threshold for maximum loan support.
The government recently announced its cost of living boost for students, – tuition fees will be frozen for the next two academic years, and undergraduate and postgraduate loans will be increased by 2.8 per cent for the 2023/24 academic year. However, with inflation currently above 10 per cent, this is a real-term cut to maintenance loans, which has been described as a “poor outcome for social mobility”.
The University of Exeter has published advice for students on managing their finances, and support for those who are struggling is available here.