Student loans leave students £221 short monthly

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Thousands of students will be starting university without enough money to make it through the year, experts warn. The National Student Money Survey revealed that two thirds of students struggle to make ends meet on their maintenance loan, with parents being left to plug the remaining £221 gap, as the government leaves students short.

As many of the UK’s students begin their university career, Save the Student warns many may be entering into serious money problems. The National Student Money Survey 2017 reported that 84% of students suffered financial hardship last year, with 66 per cent stating that the maintenance loan is not enough to live on.

The average monthly spending for a student is £821, with rent coming in at an average of £394 nationally. However, the average maintenance loan is just £600 per month – a £221 gap. The maintenance loan is means tested, and is designed to be topped up by parents, who are then expected to contribute thousands of pounds a year.

The Parental Contributions Calculator shows parents earning £35 000 are expected to contribute £1211 each year; with a household income of £50 000, the contribution expected to rise to over £3000. Sadly, over a third of students say parents don’t give enough financial support to make up the difference.

One third year student, Kayleigh McCallion, said “the Student Loans Company assume the incomes at your address are both parental, in my house it is my mum and step-dad, and I don’t feel it fair, given I receive nothing from either party assessed.”

The survey highlights the dangers of sending students to university unprepared for financial hardship: half of all students report mental health issues due to lack of cash, with 61 per cent saying they can’t always afford to eat. Unsurprisingly 57 per cent feel Student Finance isn’t fair.

Jake Butler of Save the Students comments that: “We’ve campaigned against […] the pitiful size of maintenance loans […] it’s quite evident that the student loan is not enough to support the average student.”

Save the Students suggest budgeting as one money saving tip, as loans come in lump sums, so making sure you have a thorough budget throughout the term can help to make funds last.

The full Student Money Survey from Save the Student can be viewed here.