NUS: ‘Working-class students face poverty’

The NUS set up a poverty commission to gather evidence on the experiences of students from the age of 16. Its report, which will be published on Monday, argues that wherever they study, the costs for working class students are a major hurdle. The BBC reports. 

The government says its review of funding for post-18 study will consider better value for money for students. It also says more disadvantaged students than ever are going to university.

“I had to close my eyes to the debt I was getting into, thinking in the long run it will be better for me,” says Selina, who’s in her 30s and studies at London Metropolitan University.

Selina is getting through university with support from her family, who she can turn to for meals when money is tight.

The NUS panel heard evidence about the costs of living and studying for students at further education colleges, universities, and in apprenticeships.

Shakira Martin, NUS president, told the BBC: “I believe the system as it currently stands is totally unfair. Students that are coming from working class and disadvantaged families, end up leaving university with more debt than those from middle class families.”

“In addition to childcare costs, council taxes and equipment, these indirect costs are hugely affecting student experience, and ultimately affect the grades they can come out with.”

Economists at the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies have estimated that the university students from the poorest backgrounds end up borrowing around £57,000.

They have been disproportionately effected by the shift from maintenance grants to loans in England.

Read the full article NUS: ‘Working-class students face poverty’

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Further Education, Higher Education and University.


  1. Andrea

    It’s even harder for mature students. I am 51, have dependent children and disabled husband and “unfortunately” rely on housing benefit of £1450 per month (I hate how the council make you feel). While I’m training I will lose most of our benefits and my bursary and loans will count as income. I can’t afford to train because I will be worse off by £300 per month – we only just make ends meet now!!

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