This year, NUS will be hosting a special commission on The Future of Student Financial Support. We conducted a survey, which had over 14,500 responses and the results can be found in the linked documents at the end of this article. We asked a number of questions about student finance, in order to shape our proposal of an alternative set of support systems.
In recent times, much emphasis has rightly been placed on debating the way that universities are funded, with the policy direction changing substantially as a result of the Browne Review and the election of the current coalition government.
But this has meant that not enough attention has been paid to issues of student financial support – the pound in students’ pockets.
We want to investigate the costs faced by students today, and the impact of the complex range of support measures available to them, finding out if the right people are getting the right help, in the right way.
We will look at international comparisons, putting to the test the often-made point about England’s support system being the most generous in the world.
We want to involve students and students’ unions in carrying out research into under-examined corners of the financial landscape for students so we can get a real sense of how financial pressures impact on students in all their diversity.
With this survey we wanted to find out what the experience is of support, how it effects participation, performance and well-being.
Using the results that are currently being collated, we will present an alternative to the current piecemeal set of support systems, and students are helping us to do it, to let us know what matters and help us to shape the future of student support.
Our survey asked students questions about how they fund their living costs whilst studying and what they think of the support they receive. This included students studying for degrees, masters, PHD, apprenticeships or on any course at a college or other learning provider in England.
Mapping the Evidence, A Review of Literature: Student Financial Support in Higher Education
Pound in Your Pocket Survey Results