Eight per cent of Welsh students experienced homelessness due to the cost of living crisis
32 per cent of students also said that they have been unable to pay rent
Eight per cent of students in Wales have experienced homelessness during the cost-of-living crisis according to a new survey.
The survey, carried out by NUS Wales, also found that half of those students who have been homeless had experienced it for more than a week. It also revealed that 32 per cent of students said they have been unable to pay rent and 36 per cent said they had been unable to pay their bills.
Almost a quarter of students surveyed expressed that they had been unable to find suitable, affordable accommodation during the 2022/23 academic year. Students also reported having to live further away from their education provider or having to commute from home to save money.
Due to rising rental costs throughout Wales, the survey revealed that many students have had to seek financial support. Three quarters of students said they had sought some type of financial support: A third said they had received loans from friends or family, a quarter said they had received discretionary funding, and one in five said they had sought support from the government.
The report also called attention to the negative impact on students who have to pick up extra work shifts alongside their studies. One in five students work more than 20 hours a week, with 64 per cent of those saying it negatively impacted their studies.
Alongside this, one in five students in Wales have missed in-person classes due to the cost of transport and nine per cent have missed online classes due to the cost of broadband or equipment such as laptops.
NUS Wales expressed these findings highlight that maintenance support for students in higher and further education in Wales is failing to reflect the cost of living, and have called on the Welsh Government to do more to support all students.
NUS Wales president, Orla Tarn said: “The fact that not much has changed for students in Wales, who continue to be left with so little to live on, should be a real red flag for the Welsh Government that it will need to act again to support students in 2023-24.”
“One of my main concerns continues to be students’ mental health. We know that money troubles, housing issues and poor work-life balance can all be detrimental to your sense of well-being, and during the cost-of-living crisis all three have become more pronounced for many students.
“The Welsh Government acted last year by raising the undergraduate maintenance package and the EMA for further education students, but swathes of Wales’ student population – including students from outside of Wales, postgraduates and apprentices – have not benefited.”
“I urge ministers to take these groups into account when designing support schemes and take real action to get spiralling student rent under control. The Welsh Government’s White Paper on Fair Rent cannot come soon enough for students paying through the nose for accommodation.”