NUS President Shakira Martin spoke to student journalists of her new campaign, called the Student Poverty Commission, at Amnesty International’s Student Media Summit today.
In her speech at the summit, Martin announced that a two-year programme will aim to look into how to improve financial support for students, derived from gaining a greater understanding of the socioeconomic challenges they may face.
She stated that “the first step is to listen”, and that the Commission would likely suggest that support should be given to the regions believed to need it most.
Martin claimed that evidence has shown that students from poor economic backgrounds are 35 per cent less likely to go to university.
When asked by Nouse what she expected the campaign will draw attention to over the next two years, Martin responded that it is likely to highlight that students who are parents suffer most. Martin herself is a single mother from an economically disadvantaged background.
Other areas disclussed included the concerns of students in North Wales and the costs of higher education faced by Scottish students. Martin spoke of students from Scotland studying at Scottish universities needing to contact three loan companies in order to get a maintenance loan, despite not having to pay tuition fees.
National media is expected to be briefed on this project at a press conference tomorrow, Nouse has been informed.