Experts call for larger loans as the ‘pitiful size’ of student maintenance loans will see thousands of students start university without sufficient funds to make it through the year.
New research from Save the Student has revealed that maintenance loans leave the average student short by £221 a month – and the extra money the government expects parents to contribute is not enough for most students to live on
The Student Money Survey, which surveyed over 2,300 students, shows that while students need an average of £821 to cover monthly spending, the average Maintenance Loan payment (for students with a household income of £35k) is just £600 per month.
This gap has resulted in over two thirds of students struggling to get by on the maintenance loan on its own.
Jake Butler, Save the Student’s money expert, commented: “It’s quite evident that the student loan is not enough to support the average student and their day-to-day living costs.”
“Parents are increasingly left to plug the gap, leaving many in a difficult position.”
The idea that the maintenance loan is “designed to be topped up by parents” are backed up by the Parental Contributions Calculator, which shows parents earning £35,000 are expected to contribute £1,211 each year. With 1 in 3 students saying that parents don’t give enough support, there is no guarantee that parents will or can pay that money.
Third year Southampton university student Becca Hellard said: “I find it a little embarrassing that at age 20 I am unable to live independently, as I am still completely reliant on my parents.”
“My maintenance loan doesn’t even cover my rent. This is okay for me as I have a good relationship with my parents, however not everyone getting minimum loans do. If your parents refuse to help you out, there is very little you can do about it. On the other hand, if your parents can afford to support you, they should!”
These money concerns have led to half of students being stressed and anxious about money, and with the majority (61%) saying they can’t always afford to eat, the study reveals that more of Britain’s students are resorting to participating in adult work, drugs trials and gambling to raise money.
These findings come before the announcement of NUS’s new Poverty Commission to consider the barriers faced by working class students before, during and after university. The commission will then recommend government policy.