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UCU responds to student living report

15 January 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today expressed its concerns about a widening gap between rich and poor students on university campuses, following the release of the Unite Student Experience Report.

The number of students now racking up debt through bank overdrafts, credit cards and personal loans has increased this year. The report says that less well off students are increasingly turning to more expensive forms of borrowing and that 'having little money' and 'being in debt' top the list of the worst aspects of university life.

The report reveals that rising student debt is forcing parents to make increased contributions to their children's university costs. Over 93 per cent of students rely on their parents for some financial support. However, the report also says that students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less able to borrow from their parents and are forced to look elsewhere for money to survive whilst studying. Students who work during term time are also less likely to borrow off their parents.

UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We are not surprised that money worries are the number one anxiety for students. However it appears money worries are more of a concern for some students than others. A worrying picture is painted of the gulf between the "haves" and "have-nots" on campus.

'Students without parental backing are forced to take on commercial debt or work longer hours to pay the bills. Our members always try to get the best out of their students but increasingly report that many of their students are stressed out or exhausted by concerns about money.

'The introduction of top-up fees and the new financial packages have not improved the situation. We agree that more must be done to ensure students are aware of the support packages available to them. However, we fear they are not enough, especially for those students getting into large amounts of commercial debt.'