A new study by money saving website VoucherCodesPro.co.uk has revealed that over a third of students are funding their university life through “online” work. 23 per cent sold clothes online, while 19 per cent did webcam work, and 11 per cent worked in pornography.
In addition, insurance firm Endsleigh have recently discovered that eight out of every ten students have part-time jobs during term time to pay their way through courses. This is unsurprising given the expenditure intensive nature of university life.
However, the situation is exacerbated by the means-tested nature of university funding, such as student grants. Students encounter difficulty when their parents’ income fluctuates. The means-test does not take into account such complexities. The result is that by the time a student enters university their parents’ income may have changed substantially.
The government’s replacing of grants with means-tested loans will worsen the situation for students in the long term. Although the government have stated the poorest will receive an extra £550 per year, they will graduate owing up to £53,000 in total, compared with £40,500 when the maintenance grant was still in place. Moving from grants to loans will not alter the inability of our means-testing system to factor in the complexities of people’s lives. It will place a burden of debt on the poorest.