The UK government will provide an additional £15 million in hardship funding for students, it announced today.
The money will be distributed to universities to give to students who are struggling to cope with rising costs.
The government said this will build on the £261 million student premium fund allocated this year – money aimed at supporting disadvantaged students.
“This extra funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own bursary, scholarship and hardship support schemes,” said Robert Halfon, minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, in a statement.
Chloe Field, NUS vice president for higher education, welcomed the funding but said hardship funds are “a quick fix to a long-term problem which has come to a head in the cost of living crisis”. Field called on the government to implement additional measures, including a rent freeze.
Data published by The PIE News this week shows the prolonged demand for additional financial support from universities among international students. Several British institutions paid out over £100,000 in hardship funding to non-UK students during the 2021/22 academic year, and students have continued to request help this academic year.
Tim Bradshaw, CEO of the Russell Group, also said more government assistance is needed. “Without it, we are concerned this will have an increasing impact on students’ studies and wider mental health and wellbeing,” Bradshaw said.
It is beyond disappointing that thousands of students in financial crisis at Approved providers will miss out on support that could mean the difference between continuing their studies or not.
— Alex Proudfoot (@AlexProudfootUK) January 11, 2023
Alex Proudfoot, CEO of Independent HE, said it was “disappointing” that the new funding would only be available to fee-cap registered institutions, rather than all providers approved by the Office for Students.
“Hardship can affect students wherever they choose to study”
“Hardship can affect students wherever they choose to study, regardless of their institution’s particular bureaucratic status. Students should be able to count on the same support from government irrespective of whether their college or university receives other government grants,” Proudfoot wrote on twitter.
Vivienne Stern, CEO of Universities UK, welcomed the new funding.
“Throughout this cost-of-living crisis, our members have stepped up to provide support to students, from daily meal deals to increasing hardship funding, universities are working hard to offer much needed help to students,” she said.
“This extra funding from the government will help to shore up their efforts.”