Total hardship funds distributed by universities have doubled over the last year, from £61 million to £121 million, according to the BBC.
The rising number of applicants was a key reason for the increased spending, with 55,000 more students applying in the 2020/2021 academic year than in 2019/2020.
The average sum sent to individual students increased in this time period by around £15.
The main reason for this rise in hardship fund applications was the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to lockdown restrictions, many students who were planning to supplement their studies with part-time jobs were not able to.
In addition, the number of university students per year is rising – in 2020, there were 300,000 more students in UK universities than in 2019.
The rise in the national student population has had a large effect on hardship funding according to the National Union of Students’ Vice-President for Higher Education, Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, who said: “With soaring cost of living, rising student rent, and increasingly insecure employment, it’s clear that demand is far outstripping supply when it comes to student hardship funding.”
Hardship funding is a form of additional funding that students can apply for if they’re having financial difficulties. It often does not need to be repaid.[related_posts_by_tax columns="4" posts_per_page="4" format="thumbnails" image_size="medium" exclude_terms="34573"]