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Student Leaders call for support as NUS Scotland survey finds three in five students concerned about finances

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Students relying on food banks and unable to pay their rent as unemployment rises  @nusuk

  • 64 per cent of students say that coronavirus has had some impact on their income
  • The proportion of students in part-time employment has dropped to a fifth of students
  • Students who do not work at all has jumped to 59 per cent compared to 27 per cent in July
  • 73 per cent of students concerned about managing financially during the covid-19 outbreak
  • 14 per cent of students have used food banks during the pandemic

Three in five students continue to say that coronavirus has had some degree of impact upon their income, a new survey from NUS Scotland has found.  Around one in four have had their hours reduced, and around one in ten have lost their job. The survey demonstrates the need for greater financial support for students, on top of the recent announcement of £5 million in hardship funding in Scotland.

This comes as 60 student leaders from across Scotland have written to the First Minister calling for increased hardship and digital funding. They have also called for compensation on rent, tuition fees and no detriment policies in each college and university.

The proportion of students in part-time employment has dropped to a fifth compared to around a third in July and correspondingly the proportion who do not work at all has jumped – 58 per cent compared to 27 per cent.

The Coronavirus and Students Survey phase III took place in November and involved 653 students from Scotland, building upon the previous research issued by NUS in April and September 2020. Students’ concern over managing financially during the covid-19 outbreak continues to be high with 73 per cent of students concerned in some way.

Two in five students continue to say they have sought financial assistance from family members and one in three have used savings. A further one in five say they have used credit cards to help them out, while 14 per cent and 12 per cent respectively have used food banks and institutional hardship funds.

Matt Crilly, NUS Scotland President, said:

“These results highlight how widespread financial struggles are amongst the student body – the Scottish Government must intervene and offer urgent support to students facing hardship.

“While improvements to cost-of-living support introduced by the Scottish Government are welcome, they do not go far enough and need to be built on – now more than ever due to the economic devastation being caused by covid-19.

“Students are being expected to pay rent for accommodation they can’t use, while some are relying on foodbanks and increased debt just to make ends meet.

“Student leaders from across Scotland have written to the First Minister seeking urgent financial support from the Scottish Government and universities to ensure no student is left to struggle financially and that every university has a no-detriment policy in place so that no student is academically disadvantaged.”

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