Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or in a developed country, you will have heard all about the catastrophe haunting the UK at the moment. Don’t worry, the Queen hasn’t resurrected in her lizard form; I’m talking about the cost of living crisis. It’s like the 70s coming back without the fun flares or the cheap cocaine.
As a student in London, you’re probably feeling the squeeze. All of us at Cheesegrater are asking the question every Education Secretary most doggedly ignores; what financial support is available for us students?
First of all, let’s hear from the government. They’ve most generously given a 2.3% rise in maintenance loan. Never mind that inflation is rising to 12% this autumn, or that food prices have increased to levels not seen since the financial crash of ‘08. If only I had my Nintendo Wii to get me through this one.
In an extraordinary display of passing the buck, the government is also advising students to seek help from their university’s financial hardship funds. You know, those same universities that require a death certificate or a teary-eyed video from your hospital bed to grant a one-week assignment extension.
In response, the Russell Group of Universities called for an uplift in maintenance loans. The Department for Education basically replied by telling them to look up the definition of ‘Nomfup’.
So, what does UCL have to say about all this? Well, UCL has provided a very helpful article entitled ‘Rising cost of living and your wellbeing’. Obviously working on the assumption that every UCL student spends their maintenance loan on tote bags, iced lattes, and halloumi from Waitrose, it lists some budgeting tips and a reminder that you can claim 6 free CBT sessions. I haven’t watched any of his videos, but I’m pretty sure Andrew Tate offers more sound financial advice than that.
I asked around the Cheesegrater office for their best advice on making ends meet at uni. The most common response was to hang around the Bartlett Institute until someone throws a chair at you, the payout from that should be enough to get you through the winter.
This article appeared in CG Issue 83.