A survey conducted last month by Save the Student found that maintenance loans for students, which are supposed to cover rent and other living costs for students at university, fall well short of what it really costs young people to maintain a decent standard of living while studying.

The average student spends £745 per month (£410 on rent and bills; £110 on food; £67 on socialising; £48 on travel; £27 on books; and the rest on other miscellaneous costs). These are hardly the spending habits of the super-rich, and yet the maintenance loan for students is just £480 per month.

66% of students say they can’t survive on just the maintenance loan. 71% rely on their parents for money, while 65% have part time jobs. The totally inadequate provision of funds for university students means that those who cannot rely on their parents for money either cannot attend university or are forced to interrupt their studies through part-time, poorly paid and exploitative work.

All students should be fully funded throughout their time at university, with grants not loans, as an investment in society for the future. Capitalism cannot provide such a long-term investment, obsessed as the system is with short-term profit. We need to take the wealth of the 1% that is locked up in speculative investment or just sitting idle in the banks and use it to fund free education for all.

by Ben Gliniecki, MSF Executive

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