From education to employment

New data reveals the hidden student job crisis

students studying a test

NUS has published new survey data which reveals the impact of work on university students’ lives and studies. With a cost-of-living crisis continuing to bite and soaring inflation increasing prices and rents, more students than ever are being forced to take on paid job alongside their studies. For a sizeable percentage this is having a negative impact on their studies and lives.

Of 1,367 full-time students in higher education surveyed:

  • 69% work part time on top of their studies.
  • Of those who work, 65% reported working more this year than last.
  • Of those who work, almost 1 in 5 worked more than 20 hours per week alongside their studies.
  • 34% of those who work say it has a somewhat negative impact on their studies. 4% say it has a very negative impact.
  • Of those reporting a negative impact, tiredness, juggling commitments, and less time for studying are all reported.

NUS UK Vice President for Higher Education, Chloe Field, said:

“62% of those working say they do to afford to eat and pay bills, which tells you all you need to know about the failure of the current education system to keep pace with inflation. We are sleep-walking into a world where higher education is increasingly the preserve of the wealthy. Poorer students are forced, in effect, to attend university part-time. They must juggle their studies with paid work in order to simply eat and put a roof over their heads. Is it any wonder that many people from deprived backgrounds are put off completely? Students are tomorrow’s nurses, doctors, teachers and public sector workers. They are the scientists and engineers who will make breakthroughs that transform society, and solve our most pressing issues, such as the climate crisis. Yet all too many are having their futures blighted by poverty and hardship that risks scuppering their potential. We urgently need a complete overhaul of our failed HE system. Maintenance loans must be brought into line with inflation, and a rent freeze and rent controls are needed. Going forward, we need a return to grants instead of loans and an abolition of tuition fees.”

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