Cost of living: Thousands of students using food banks

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Students are using food banks because they cannot make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis, according to a survey.

The survey of more than 3,500 university students by the National Union of Students (NUS) found that one in 10 were using food banks to get food, with one in five unable to buy toiletries and one in 10 unable to buy sanitary products when needed.

A third of students were living on less than £50 per month after paying rent and bills, the survey found.

Huge increases in the price of bills, food and living costs coupled with soaring rent has students on the brink. 

Oxford Mail:

Just a fifth (20%) of students said they had received any support from the UK Government or their devolved government and only 8% said they felt their government was doing enough to support them.

Students reported that their maintenance funds were not enough to pay for a weekly shop, travel to their university or cover energy bills.

The data also revealed a cost-of-learning crisis, with three-quarters of students saying they would be unable to pay for course materials without more support.

The survey found that 11% were using food banks, up from 5% in January 2022.

An NUS spokesperson said: “Huge increases in the price of bills, food and living costs coupled with soaring rent has students on the brink.

“We’re hearing from students struggling to get by, who can’t afford to do their laundry and are cutting back on showers to make ends meet. They can’t even cover the cost of getting to the library or classes.

“This is having a severe impact on their mental health, being kept awake at night due to finances.

“We’re seeing stress and anxiety piling on them from bouncing debt between different cards to stay afloat.

“Despite all of this, students are being completely ignored by the Government. These findings are bleak; we’re knee deep in a cost-of-learning crisis that will affect the poorest students the hardest.”

The NUS said the Government needed to put a tailored cost-of-living support package in place for students, adding that the student maintenance package and apprentice minimum wage needed to be brought into line with the living wage.