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Students face over £8,000 shortfall in funds, claims Union

MONEY WOES: University students

THE GAP between the potential government support students can receive and the actual cost of being a university student has grown to £8,566 per year for those studying outside London, the National Union of Students (NUS) has claimed.

The union, which released a report earlier today (Nov 19), said for students in London, the gap is £8,112.

NUS said it arrived at the figures after analyzing available statistics for the cost of living for students for an academic year of 39 weeks. It also compared it to typical payments for government maintenance loans and grants for the same period.

"A student aged 18 to 20 earning a minimum wage of £4.98 per hour would have to work 34 hours a week 52 weeks a year in order to earn the £8,875 before tax necessary to cover this gap," the NUS claimed.

It said students from around the country will be marching in Central London on Wednesday (Nov 21) under the banner Educate, Employ, Empower calling for the government to invest in supporting education and creating opportunities.

Pete Mercer, NUS Vice-President Welfare, said: “Student financial support is a mess and it is not reaching the right people when they need it. Fee waivers are a joke to anyone who has a pile of bills to pay and months until their next loan payment - what they need is cash bursaries that help them meet the costs of studying.

“If you had a minimum wage job and received no further support from your university or family you’d have to work full time every week of the year to come close to bridging this gap.

“Anyone who claims that university is affordable because you can get a loan for your tuition fees is woefully out of touch with the needs of students. It is not just students but parents with children of all ages who are concerned that opportunity is being taken away from them.”

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