Maintenance Loans Leave Students Short

The National Student Money Survey has revealed maintenance loans are leaving students short of £221 per month. 

66% of students surveyed said that the maintenance loan was not enough money to live on, with 84% in total reporting that they suffered from financial hardship last year. The survey has estimated average university living costs are about £821 per month, therefore leaving students short on money.

This comes amid increased tuition fees and the scrapping of the maintenance grant, signalling an ever-rising concern for university costs.

The lack of money available from the maintenance loan is not a new result from the survey, which is run by student money website Save the Student, offering finance and budgeting advice. In previous years that the survey was run, they also found that maintenance loans were not enough for students.

The Save the Student website also explains how student finance works, with a recent ‘Big Fat Guide to Student Finance 2017’ published on their website. Now, they are calling for bigger loans that will cover the basic living costs. 

Jake Butler, from Save the Student, said: “This shortfall is the most pressing issue with student loans, not the latest increases in fees and interest rate.”

The shortfall in finances is expected to be filled by parents, with 71% of students surveyed answering that they rely on money from their parents to get by every month. This has increased since last year. 

Undoubtedly, this makes it difficult for students who cannot turn to parents and family for extra finances, linking to the rise of students taking out payday loans and applying for bank overdrafts, which 67% of surveyed students did.

Emma, who just finished her second year, told Save the Student: “coming from a less fortunate background, money is a massive worry for me. I don’t have the option to ask parents for money.” 

She also added that her loan does not cover her rent, wondering, “how am I supposed to live through university without enough money to cover rent?”

Half of all students in the survey said they have experienced mental health problems as a result of financial problems, with other saying diet, relationships and grades suffer because of it.  The Student Money Survey is an annual survey, which this year polled over 2,000 students.

Rabeeah Moeen