Should The Student Maintenance Loan Increase Every Year In Line With Inflation?

With the current economic climate, should the borrowing amount be increased? Let’s dive into how students feel and the argument for.

The cost of living crisis has caused many to struggle with meeting the demands for everyday living expenses.

Students are among the worst hit, with rising accommodation costs, bills and additional study expenses required to complete courses.

In fact, on average, students spend £5,322.30 per year, with £433.43 of that being on rent per month. The former amount is used to cover other expenses such as bills, food, household costs, transport and healthcare. 

Whatever’s left is being stretched more than ever, as the cost of living crisis continues to affect students.

This begs the following question — should student maintenance loan amounts should be increased to match the current economic situation?

Read on for our take, and find out how you can protest for change.

The numbers

The average UK adult has a monthly income of almost £2500, and are left with around £950 after their collection of bills and necessities.

For students, this is a different story.

Despite maintenance loans and council tax exemption, the average student could find themselves almost £600 in debt each month before they even think about their disposable spend. 

While expenses are greater post-university life, that shouldn’t justify such little to live on while studying. In fact, our student cost of living money report stated 47% of students are seeing their grades slip due to stressing about their finances. This is detrimental to a student’s well-being and future success.

What’s impacting students specifically?

Our survey uncovered how students have essentially lost faith in the government. Inflation has hit a 40-year high, as many are seeing their expenses soar as a result of the cost of living crisis.

In fact, students, and the rest of the UK are being personally affected by:

  • Rising cost of food shopping – 83%
  • Rising cost of energy – 63%
  • Rising cost of rent or accommodation – 47%
  • Rising cost of socialising – 53%
  • Rising cost of travel – 73%

All of these things are usually what a maintenance loan is there to cover. But with students being left with no choice but to stretch their budgets even further, it’s left many wondering why maintenance loans aren’t being increased in line with inflation.

In addition this, the survey findings reveal young people are now calling on the UK Government to better support them, by:

  • Providing better access to financial support in line with the cost of living – 52%
  • Launching a young person’s crisis package – 24%
  • Providing more education on managing your finances – 17%

Other calls to action include wishes to force energy companies to price reasonably; increase the minimum wage; not base student loans on family income and call on the Government to avoid increasing tax and national insurance. 

So we’re worried. What’s going to happen?

At this point in time, not much is being done. However, universities are waking up to the cost of living crisis by providing free meals.

Students are specific on what they’re calling upon the government to help out with though. More recently, a petition has been going around, urging the government to increase maintenance loan amounts in line with inflation. Their mission is as follows:

“With the cost of rent for students soaring, many will find themselves to get by in the coming academic years. It is essential we support our future generation’s learning environment by ensuring they feel financially secure and able to continue with their studies.”

With enough signatures, the issue can be discussed in parliament. If you feel strongly about maintenance loans being increased to cover your student expenses, sign the petition here

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