We spoke to students struggling with the cost of living crisis: Here’s what they said

Students’ scuffle with sterling

From splurging copious amounts of your student loan on Vodka and fools gold, to living off of tedious Tesco Meal Deals – or perhaps vaping a Lost Mary as passionately as Phillip Schofield, students differ greatly in how they splash their cash.

The cost of living crisis has nauseated the whole country with exponential upsurges in everyday essentials. Food, gas and electric rates are rising considerably faster than our incomes and loans. As a result, life in full-time education can prove precarious for most.

Whilst Daddy’s money may be available for some – for most, money can be one of the hardest things to control at uni.

Alisha, a Newcastle student who graduated this year, told us about her struggles of having to juggle working and studying. Speaking about her time management, she explained that she’s missing a lot of study time because of work. She said: “Four shifts a week as well as five days at uni meant I had to sacrifice quite a bit of time on campus. I needed to take all the hours that work would give me to be able to live!”

According to experimental statistics by the Office for National Statistics, 30 per cent of students have taken on extra hours at work and 30 per cent of students have taken on new debt. Additionally, a hefty 78 per cent of students have admitted worry as to how this battle with money may negatively impact on their studies.

Newcastle University Student Union (NUSU) has stated that they will “be reaching out to all our local MPs, requesting that they champion and lead in gaining Student financial support at this time of crisis”.

Additionally, NUSU has signed an open letter – instigated initially by the SU officer at Liverpool Hope University – requesting that the Secretary of State for Education, Christopher Malthouse joins union representatives around the country in meeting to “urgently” discuss how the Government can start giving students better help.

NUSU has provided students with resources in order to help us save some pennies. For example, for those of you who love a bargain meal, you can get yourself down to campus for £1 breakfasts and lunches (it is soup season after all). The table below outlines which cafes on campus offer this deal.

In terms of helping students in financial difficulty, Newcastle students can access emergency loans, financial advice from NUSU, as well as financial assistance fund for UK students and financial assistance fund for EU and International students 

Seb, a fourth year medical student who got support from NUSU last year, explained that the process was “really quick” and “took about a week to process”. He said: “I filled in a form about my details and a chart comparing my budget to earnings, that took about an hour. From that they’ll determine if you need help and how much they’ll give you”.

Seb told us how although previously he would receive money each month from his family, due to the cost of living crisis they can unfortunately no longer afford to provide him with this support.

“I had to repay my loan to the SU but it got me back on my feet and I’m grateful I had them to turn to.”

He also shared his opinion on how often getting a part-time job isn’t the most pragmatic answer. He stated that he found third year “a full-time job in itself”which we can all sympathise with.

Student loans are frustratingly not a reflection of your parental or carer’s present day incomes – these financial circumstances may have indeed changed since you applied for this year’s loan back in June. But regardless of rich or poor – money is not the thing that makes you.