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Cost of Living: UK universities operating food banks for students

As the cost of living continues to rise, students are finding themselves compelled to reduce their expenses on food. Consequently, UK universities have taken notice of this issue and have begun implementing food banks to support their students.

New research by the Higher Education Policy Institute reveals that over 25% of UK universities are running food banks for students due to the cost of living crisis. Despite universities providing assistance for food and drink costs (76%) and free period products (43%), students continue to struggle. A quarter of Russell Group university students regularly skip meals due to affordability issues, and nearly half live on less than £100 per month. Urgent action is needed to address this crisis and ensure students can focus on their education without financial hardship.

Students are facing financial and mental health concerns as soaring prices take a toll on their wellbeing, a survey has suggested.

More than eight in 10 of those asked said they worried about making ends meet, with the average maintenance loan falling short of living costs.

The survey, run by the website Save The Student, suggested four in five had considered the prospect of dropping out of university.

Half of those blamed money worries.

"This is the most worried I've ever been about the financial situation students are facing," said Save The Student's Jake Butler.

"In a decade of running the National Student Money Survey, this year's findings are bleak - and we expect much worse is yet to come."

Rent is by far the largest outgoing for students, followed by groceries. Living costs have seen a 14% increase since last year's survey, according to the responses, with the average student now spending £924 per month.

That is higher than the official inflation rate of 9.9%, which tracks how the cost of living changes over time. Save The Student suggested that a typical maintenance loan in England fell £439 short of covering these costs every month.

Many relied on parents or part-time jobs, or savings to make up the shortfall, but one in 10 students in the survey has used a food bank in the last academic year, the survey suggested.

Of those who were worried about making ends meet, some 59% said their mental health had suffered, and 64% said their social life had taken a hit.

Source: BBC

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