With national changes to student finance and alterations to bursaries and loan regulations, it's not surprising that we're facing a student cost of living crisis. In our Student Transformation survey last year, the cost of living came out as one of the top worries for UEA students and we’d like to see the University do more to alleviate this pressure.
UEA needs to acknowledge the student cost of living crisis and follow up on the recommendations of the uea(su) ‘real cost of study’ report to look at wider average costs of participation, rather than mere ‘charges.’ A concern that cropped up multiple times in our survey report was the hidden costs of study – with students citing the unexpected extras of printing, books and extracurricular activity fees that come on top of expected course and accommodation costs.
Given that UEA have completed a review of their own finances, it seems only fair that a comprehensive review of student finances takes place. It has been 18 months since a Student Financial Support Group was promised by UEA and we’re disappointed that this still hasn’t been put in place.
We'd also like to see an investigation into different types of students with different financial circumstances, providing information as to their avenues for support and their ability to participate. This will help paint a full picture of student finances at UEA and a strategic review should be developed to inform decision making. Finally, we’d like to see a single committee that includes student representation to oversee all charges and fees levied on students.
Studying is becoming more expensive, and UEA need to make sure that any decisions that will hit the student purse are well informed and made in consultation with students.
If you’re struggling financially, come and talk to advice(su) in the Union House gateway who can point you in the direction of support – including the uea(su) foodbank and SSS hardship fund. You can request an appointment here.