The Government's £15 million fund


Nouse investigates the government's Hardship Fund

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By Nadia Sayed

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced an additional £15 million ‘Hardship Fund’ will be distributed amongst UK universities, in order to provide financial aid to students, as a consequence of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

According to the official government website, the fund will be in addition to the “£261 million that the government has already provided to the Office for Students (OfS) for the 2022/23 academic year...”

The additional funding comes at a time when thousands of students, across the UK, have been put under further pressure to juggle both academic studies and their finances.

Students have been especially impacted by the rise in rent and accommodation fees, along with basic commodities, so making ends meet is increasingly difficult.

Along with the additional funding, the Government has also announced that there will be a freeze on tuition fees for the next two years. These fees currently sit at a maximum of £9,250 for each academic year.

In an interview with Nouse, Community and Wellbeing Officer at the University Hannah Nimmo, stated the additional funding “acknowledges that students are in need of cost of living support.”

She also said that she hoped the £15 million “is the first of more support, which will push individual university agendas forward on the cost of living.” However, Hannah was concerned that “when you break down the £15 million to every university student in the UK, it only equates to roughly £7 per student. So, there is a lot more investment that needs to go into student support, to help with the cost of living crisis.”

Nevertheless, Hannah was keen to acknowledge the University’s work so far in terms of aiding students through the cost of living crisis and stated the University “is working with YUSU to do a lot more.”

For example, the University of York has already given out financial aid to help students during the cost of living crisis, through household energy grants of £150 per student household.

The criteria for these grants is listed on the University website and is as follows: it must be an all student household, the household must be within the City of York Council boundaries or within a radius of the University of 40 miles for full time students and 60 miles for part time students, the household is exempt from Council Tax, utility bills are not included in the rent, all students must be registered and in active study, must not have received a previous award towards their energy bills and students who are distance learning or studying online are not eligible.

The household energy grant is non-repayable and students can still apply through the University’s cost of living hub page (provided they meet the above criteria.

When asked if she had any advice for students, Hannah replied “if you are eligible for financial aid, take it. Don’t be scared or ashamed to take support and remember you are not alone if you are struggling.”

For further information on how to access financial support as a student, please visit the University of York website and search their cost of living hub.