Today the government announced changes to student support in England, including student loans. This will mean that the maximum living cost loans for undergraduates in England will increase by 2.5% from the 1st of August 2024. The same will also apply to the maximum disabled student allowance, given to disabled students who are pursuing full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in 2024/2025.
However, this news will come as yet another disappointing blow to students already struggling immensely in the current cost of living crisis. Students in England are being forced into an unlivable and unsustainable situation, with costs of rents soaring, the cost of food now 10% more expensive than 12 months ago, and the average student having 50p per week left over after paying rent. Now to be met with a disappointing 2.5% uplift in student loans, compared to a 2.8% increase last year, which was still below inflation. This is in contrast to Cymru where loans have been adjusted in line with inflation. This better reflects rising living expenses, but still leaves many students unable to cover basic costs.
With loans being reduced based on household income, parents, and students are being expected to plug the gap. This means that students simply do not have enough money to survive independently, hammering working-class students and leaving graduates with sky-high debts to repay. To illustrate this, the NUS has found that 69% of students are having to work on top of studying, 34% of which say it has a negative impact on their studies.
Callum Clafferty, Green Students Committee Co-Convenor said:
“Education should not be reserved for the wealthy, we need free education and the reintroduction of a liveable grant to make sure higher education remains accessible for all.”