Nearly two in three student tenants struggling with rent, survey suggests

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Nearly two in three student tenants are struggling with rent payments, a survey has suggested.

More than two in five (41%) of students surveyed said they have thought about dropping out of university because of either rent or bills.

A poll, by the website Save The Student, suggested that the proportion of student tenants struggling to keep up with rent has increased since last year’s survey – from 53% to 63%.

Students are receiving less money from their parents for rent than in previous years – which indicates the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on families, according to the money advice website.

More than four in five (82%) of students surveyed who live in university halls – and around half (47%) of students with private landlords – said they have not received the £400 energy bills discount from the Government.

Among students in the survey who have had problems with their accommodation, 43% said their studies were impacted, while 72% said their physical and/or mental health is affected by rental costs.

A student who was surveyed said: “My student loan doesn’t cover the cost of my accommodation let alone money to live off therefore I am constantly working to try to get enough money to pay my rent and to buy food, etc.

“This then leaves me exhausted and makes focusing on my degree difficult as my main concern is surviving.”

Another student said: “I have been struggling to keep up with living costs and have been missing weeks of uni to work on a building site just so I can afford rent and food.”

Half of the students surveyed said they stayed in bed longer than usual to stay warm as a way to use less energy, while 35% said they spent longer at university to avoid using electricity/gas at home.

Tom Allingham, Save the Student’s money expert, said: “Given that rent in at least some halls will inevitably have increased to cover rising energy costs, it’s concerning that many students haven’t received the necessary support in return.

“We’re calling on the Government to stop overlooking students, and instead ensure that they can benefit from all energy bill support – both now and in the future.”

Last month, the Department for Education (DfE) announced universities would be given an additional £15 million in funding this year to help ease cost-of-living pressures for disadvantaged students.

It also said tuition fees for degrees in England would be frozen at a maximum level of £9,250 for the next two years and maximum student loans for living costs would rise by 2.8% in 2023/24.

A Universities UK spokesperson said: “These are difficult times for many students, especially those from low-income backgrounds.

“Universities have stepped up efforts to alleviate financial pressures during the cost-of-living crisis.

“We need to look more closely at how well the current system and Government’s own support measures are helping students and what changes need to be made.

“Students offer so much to society and there is a risk they become the forgotten group in the cost-of-living crisis.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “We recognise the impact that cost of living pressures have had on students, and are providing £276 million that universities can draw on to make hardship awards to disadvantaged students.”

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