Last month, The Telegraph alleged that a third of students frivolously waste their loans, indulging their hedonistic desires – drinking, partying and shopping. All unnecessary and contrary to the ethos of rigorous study and discussion.
Unsurprisingly this brought the fury of students. They slap us with £9,000 fees and now accuse us of living the high life, how dare they? This is an understandable reaction to a government that has been perceived to be anti-student and anti-young, however once the telegraph’s claims are examined, they start to look less and less outlandish.
Indeed, if you peruse Friday or Saturday in Leamington, or for that matter, Tuesdays and Thursdays around Smack, you will see what the telegraph is talking about. Students everywhere. Drinking, smoking and generally having a good time on a night out. If you stroll around the high street on a Saturday or Sunday, it will again be difficult to not find students shopping at trendy stores, or having a bite to eat in a dainty restaurant.
This is an understandable reaction to a government that has been perceived to be anti-student and anti-young, however once the telegraph’s claims are examined, they start to look less and less outlandish.
Assuming that most students do not have secret money trees in their rooms, it is safe to say that at least a proportion of their loans are going on these activities. Although it is true that some people who have low family incomes are less able to do this, they are further supplemented by extra funds from the government, along with bursaries from Warwick University itself. Far from facing a student poverty crisis, it is clear from simple observation that a significant proportion of students are having a good time, spending their money at bars, clubs and trendy shops.
When you contrast this to people in genuine poverty, struggling to afford the weekly shop and cutting down on basic necessities, it seems ridiculous to brand students as poor. While it must be said that not all students partake in this sort of activity it is undeniable that a significant number do. The Telegraph put this figure at a third. I would say this figure is probably higher. To criticise this article for being outlandish is only to deny that students live mildly hedonist lifestyles, part of which must, by default, be funded by student loans.