In response to the Government's announcement of an additional £50m for student hardship funding, NUS National President Larissa Kennedy said:
“This announcement is a testament to the hard work and campaigning of students and students’ unions. Many students are currently under extreme financial pressure as a result of the pandemic: they are falling behind on their rent and bills, and needing to access food banks.
However, this will not be enough to tackle the scale of the issue. If Westminster did the right thing and matched the hardship funding being made available in Wales for students the amount needed would be more than £700m.
The pandemic has exposed the flaws at the core of our education system – it functions at the expense of students’ mental health and wellbeing, and through our financial exploitation. Many students will still be paying rent for housing they can’t access or can’t afford - to deliver true economic justice, the Treasury must underwrite this.
We also need a long term solution to ensure that no student suffers in this way again. The Government must adopt a new vision for education, starting with a return to maintenance grant funding and a boost in how much students can access, redressing extortionate housing costs, and moving towards fully funded education so students are never pushed into these kinds of dire financial situations.”