Credit crunch hits UK students hard

LONDON: The National Union of Students (NUS) has warned that the credit crunch in Britain may affect students’ grades with many of them forced to take up jobs to fund their living costs.

The NUS carried out a survey of 3,145 university students, 46 per cent of whom said they were not getting enough time to study because of their jobs. Nearly 80 per cent of the students were employed, with 35 per cent of them working only during term time. About half of the latter told NUS they were forced to work to meet rising costs. The survey is part of the NUS’ three-year research project into students’ experiences before, during and after their studies.

Of those who work during term time, a third work more than 17 hours a week, while three per cent work more than 33 hours, the study found. The average is 14 hours. The NUS has pointed out that the number of hours depends on why students work — “those working longer hours are more likely to be working to meet basic living costs or pay for books or other study equipment.”

NUS vice-president for higher education Aaaron Porter told The Guardian, “Only a few months ago, the first Student Price Index found that inflation is effectively 50 per cent higher for students than for the rest of society — many of them will have to work longer and longer hours just to get by.”

The higher education minister David Lammy said there was more financial help — on top of fee waivers and university bursaries — available to higher education students now than before. “We have brought back non-repayable grants and greatly expanded the numbers who get them, with about two-thirds of eligible new undergraduates expected to get a grant this year.”