Thousands of university students to spend half of support grant on accommodation

Amy Leckerman, 18.

Amy Leckerman, 18. - Credit: Archant

A report has revealed that thousands of students from low-income backgrounds have to spend more than half of their support grant on accommodation.

Jodie Leckerman, 21.

Jodie Leckerman, 21. - Credit: Archant

The report from The Money Charity also said the cheapest available university accommodation leaves some students with as little as £40 a week, with some parents contributing up to £750 to keep their children afloat.

The charity is now urging universities and governments to work together to make sure accommodation costs are affordable for students.

The figures come as sixth form students across Redbridge prepare to go to university after receiving their A-level results last week.

Sisters Jodie and Amy Leckerman, from Clayhall, said, though they received help from their family, managing their finances at university is a struggle.

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Jodie, 21, who recently graduated from University College London, said: “I didn’t realise how expensive being at university was – costs went up when I had to leave university halls and I was paying £650 a month on rent. I was fortunate because my grandad paid for my accommodation.”

University of Sussex student Amy, 18, said: “Organising everything from cleaning and washing up to studying and managing money was difficult. My student loan doesn’t even cover my rent.”

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Overall, a third of all universities are said to have students attending from low-income backgrounds who have to pay more than half of their grant on even the cheapest accommodation.

The study also found that these students are forced to get part-time jobs or credit, which can cause problems after they have graduated.

The Money Charity chief executive Michelle Highman said: “For almost all of the 360,000 new full-time undergraduate students each year, their first instalment of maintenance loan and grant will represent the single largest sum of money they have ever been responsible for.

“But if most of that money is gone on accommodation costs immediately after entering their account, they are being set up to fail.”

The charity is campaigning to make rent payments monthly, rather than by term, as it is now, to help students manage their finances better.

Ms Highman added: “The way in which young people manage their money at university helps to shape their attitudes towards financial management throughout the rest of their life.

“We can’t expect students to become responsible savers, credit users and planners if staying out of the red during university is impossible.”

Read more:

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Head of Redbridge College blames damning Ofsted report on “economics” of the area

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