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NUS figures show new students face cost of living crisis

By NUS

Friday 4 October 2013

The National Union of Students (NUS) has today released new figures* which show an emerging student living crisis, with many new students struggling under increasing pressure to meet their day-to-day costs of living.

NUS analysed available statistics for the cost of living for students for an academic year of 39 weeks in 2013/14 and compared it typical payments for government maintenance loans and grants for the same period.

The figures show that students are facing an estimated average funding shortfall of £7,654 for those living inside London and £7,693 for those outside London. It is the upfront living costs that are emerging as the number one concern for students.

Although student loans are available for fees and maintenance, these have not kept pace with rising living costs.

Although student loans are available for fees and maintenance, these have not kept pace with rising living costs, nor have the thresholds at which families get support.

As rent, bills and other outgoings continue to rise year after year above the rate of inflation, the level at which students get maximum support has remained at a household income of £25,000 since 2008, whilst grants and loan rates were frozen this year and will only rise by 1 per cent next year. 

Toni Pearce, NUS President said:

“Many students starting university this month are facing a cost of living crisis, with available financial support in loans and grants failing to keep pace with spiralling bills for basic essentials.” 

“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.”

“We need a financial support system that ensures students get what the support they need, when they need it.” 

Student finance research conducted by NUS Pound in Your Pocket looked into the financial pressures on today’s students – showing more than half regularly worry about having enough money to meet basic living costs such as rent and utility bills,.

Meanwhile, student accommodation costs have also doubled in the last decade and figures released by the Officer for National Statistics (ONS) last week showed a drop in the number of available jobs for young people. 

Notes to Editors:

For press enquiries please call Collette Bird on 07866 695 010 or email collette.bird@nus.org.uk

*NUS estimated average student expenditure for the 2013/14 academic year (39 weeks)[1] 

 

Average expenditure

 

 Inside London 

 Outside London

 

£

£

Course Costs:

 

Tuition fees[2]

8,425

8,425

Books, equipment etc[3]

610

464

Travel[4]

631

391

Sub-total:

9,666

9,280

 

 

 

Living Costs:

 

 

Rent[5]                     

6,340

4,989

Food[6]

1,956

1,954

Household goods[7]

396

363

Insurance[8]              

65

42

Personal Items[9]

2,229

1,917

Travel[10]                  

1,538

1,705

Leisure[11]                

997

1,190

Sub-total:

13,521

12,160

 

 

 

Total          

23,187

 21,440

 

 

 

POTENTIAL INCOME                                                                                                                                               

Tuition fee loan plus maintenance grant plus loan for living costs

(figures for loan for living costs for 39 week period – excludes amount for long vacation)

8,425 + 1,018 + 6,090

15,533

8,425 + 1,018 + 4,304

13,747



[1] Assumes first year full-time English domiciled undergraduate student under the new support system starting in 2013/14 receiving a £934 grant and maximum loan entitlement, including relevant long course loan, for a 39 week period (loans are paid for 52 weeks). This would equate to an assessable family income of £37,456, the average (mean) gross household income in 2011/12 according to the Office for National Statistics

[2] Average fee charged by English higher education students in 2013/14, Office for Fair Access

[3] Based on data from BIS, 2011/12, Student Income and Expenditure Survey. Includes costs for books, IT and other equipment required for course. Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics).

[4] Based on data from BIS, 2011/12, Student Income and Expenditure Survey. Includes travel to and from institution, and field trips. Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics).

[5] Based on data from NUS, 2012, Accommodation Costs Survey 2012/13. Overall average rent across institutional and privately-provided halls accommodation – outside London figure is all-UK average. Prices include utilities bills such as water and energy. Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics).

[6] Based on data from BIS, 2011/12, Student Income and Expenditure Survey. This includes food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed at home and elsewhere. Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics)

[7] Based on data from BIS, 2011/12, Student Income and Expenditure Survey. This figure includes cleaning material, laundry, white goods, consumer durables and household items over £50. Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics)

[8] Figures based on Endsleigh student contents insurance premiums for 2012. Assumes sum insured is £3,000, for a student living in the private rented sector.

[9] Based on data from BIS, 2011/12, Student Income and Expenditure Survey. This figure includes clothing, mobile phone bills, CD and DVD purchases, medical expenses, toiletries, tobacco and other small personal items. Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics)

[10] Based on data from BIS, 2011/12, Student Income and Expenditure Survey. This figure included other travel and holidays but not travel to and from university. Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics)

[11] Based on data from BIS, 2011/12, Student Income and Expenditure Survey.  This figure includes hobbies, sports, and cultural activities as well as alcohol consumption.  Figure uprated in with the Retail Price Index (3.2 per cent February 2013, Office for National Statistics)