Cost of Living crisis creating ‘hostile’ student houses
The cost of living crisis has caused university student houses to become increasingly ‘hostile,’ students across the UK have stated.
Students are claiming that the rising energy and food bills have resulted in difficult conversations with flatmates about stricter splitting of money, especially for shared items such as toilet roll and washing-up liquid.
Claire Dudeney, a third-year student at Swansea University, claimed that “people are quick to blame others for leaving the lights on accidentally” which has led to the atmosphere in her house to become “a bit more hostile,”despite her living with the same group of close friends throughout her degree.
This has been caused by the substantial hike in energy bills which have more than tripled in the last year according to government figures, with annual figures reaching a staggering £3,500 in October 2022, compared to £1,000 last winter.
Faye Minton, a postgraduate student at Swansea, further emphasised the impact rising prices had on socialising. She said: “I want to be out meeting people but it’s a bit rough when you can’t afford to do the whole freshers thing.”
“I want to be out meeting people but it’s a bit rough when you can’t afford to do the whole freshers thing.”
– Faye Minton, postgraduate student at Swansea University
Swansea Students’ Union president, Esyllt Roser, said: “We’ve had more people now consciously asking to be refunded student group membership fees when they’ve realised the club isn’t for them,” as an indication of how the strain on student pockets has impacted their engagement with extracurricular activities and university life as a whole.
Welsh universities such as Cardiff and Swansea have offered assistance to students to combat the increasing cost of living. This has included lowered on campus food prices, free monthly community dining, and free breakfast.
This assistance is not exclusive to Wales, with English universities offering their own support, albeit more inconsistent. The University of Warwick recently spent £3.5 million on a new cost of living package for students, taking the whole package to £45 million a year. This has had its own controversy though, with multiple protests taking place across the University claiming this support to be inadequate.
The hostility caused in houses due to the state of the economy may extend further to the lecture theatre in the coming weeks with the University and Colleges Union (UCU) taking strike action later in November to demand higher pay in accordance with the rising prices.
Consequently, with the constant cycle of inflation tightening student spending and causing disruption, the cost of living crisis is certainly plunging university student life into difficulty and uncertainty.