USW Vice Chancellor claims the cost of living crisis is worse for students than the pandemic
The President of NUS Wales has spoken out too
Dr Ben Calvert, Vice Chancellor at the University of South Wales is concerned that the current cost of living crisis will be worse for university students than the Coronavirus pandemic.
He told the Children Young People and Education Committee that the cost of living crisis could be the worst thing students will ever face, including the pandemic. The committee is currently looking at student mental health as universities across the UK have been asked to introduce new measures to help prevent student suicides.
According to Wales Online, the committee meeting, Dr Calvert noted: “But actually we have got other challenges as well. One of the issues for me is we are talking about the pandemic, it’s not past tense yet at all, but we have got another crisis, which is the cost of living coming along. I actually think for some of our students that will be harder, particularly where we have got populations of students who are older.”
He also continued by saying he was concerned that the crisis could lead to students dropping out which was especially a concern for healthcare courses as students struggled to find the funds to survive.
Orla Tarn, President of NUS Wales told the committee that some students are using food banks and only have £10 a week to spend on food. When asked, they told Wales Online: “The student support package is woefully inadequate. A student in Carmarthen told me they had just £100 left until January after paying bills and rent.”
Professor Elizabeth Treasure, chair of University Wales and Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said that there has been a 450 per cent rise in students joining university with pre-existing mental health conditions. She continued by saying that there needs to be more open communication between the NHS and education providers as student counselling services are already stretched thin.