A quarter of students believe the pandemic continues to have a “major impact” on their income, according to a new survey from the National Union of Students (NUS).
The NUS surveyed almost 4,200 further education learners, apprentices and higher education students. The union found that three in five students felt the pandemic continued to have some impact on their income, with one in five having had working hours reduced and one in 10 put on furlough.
The NUS is calling for greater financial support for students, on top of the £20 million in hardship funding in England announced by the Office for Students in December.
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‘Many are struggling’
Larissa Kennedy, NUS national president, said that “students deserve better than having to rely on food banks for their next meal or being unable to pay their rent because they cannot find employment”.
She said: “These results lay bare how widespread financial struggles are among the student body. It is astonishing that three in five students have been affected financially by the pandemic yet it has taken until now for the government to offer any meaningful support.
“Our student finance system is broken, as students have to work alongside their studies to be able to afford essential bills. With lots of the jobs students would ordinarily do disappearing, many are struggling.
“The pandemic has highlighted these fundamental injustices in the education system and now we need action from governments across the UK to find a solution. Students urgently need more financial support because access to education should not be a postcode lottery.”
The survey also found that the proportion of students in part-time employment has dropped to a fifth compared to around a third in September. One in five has used credit cards to help them out, while 9 per cent have used food banks.