66 per cent of Lancaster students’ maintenence loan doesn’t cover their rent – Tab Survey

74 per cent say that they rely on money from family and friends to cover their living costs

66 per cent of students in Lancaster have said that their maintenence loan does not cover their rent, according to a recent survey by The Lancaster Tab.

63 per cent reported having to get a part-time job to cover their living costs, whilst 74 per cent said that they rely on money from family or friends.

This data comes from a series of polls published on The Lancaster Tab’s Instagram, with over 2200 responses being recorded across all of the questions.

This follows SU President Cerys Evans discussing the lack of funds for students in a recent episode of Question Time that was filmed in Lancaster: “I have students coming in telling me they can’t study because they haven’t eaten in three days,” she said.

‘If we can’t afford our rent, we can’t live here’

Students were able to comment on their experience with maintenance loans and student finance within the Instagram polls. Many reported having to work long hours to fund their living costs, with one student stating that they “miss loads of lectures to work,” and that “after rent and a bus pass…my maintainence loan has about £50 left over.”

One student said that they “have to work minimum 21 hour weeks” after being given the minimum loan. They said that they “often” work 36 hours in one week because they “can’t rely” on financial support from parents.

While the majority of responding students said that they rely on money from their parents to fund living costs at university, many commented that their parents cannot afford to support them.

One student revealed that they “can’t rely on family because they’re too poor,” which means that they have to “get a job and go into an overdraft to survive.”

One in four Lancaster students have previously used a food bank or food scheme for support

Cerys Evans commented on Question Time that the Supper Club has “at least a hundred, 150, 180, students every Thursday who are desperate for what is possibly the only hot meal they’ll have that week.”

In response to The Lancaster Tab’s polls, one student said: “If it wasn’t for my work providing free food on shift, I wouldn’t be able to afford to eat the rest of the week.”

When asked whether they think that Lancaster University offers enough financial support and advice to students, 78 per cent said no.

One student stated that it’s “the government’s job” to provide more financial support for students, with another believing that Lancaster students are “doing much better than other places.” However, they added that there is “still so much to do.”

Rent prices were also commented on by students

The price of on-campus accommodation was described as “absolutely shameful,” by one student, who added that “the handful of outdated rooms uni have kept lower [in price] will be nowhere near enough.”

Another student agreed that “accommodation should be cheaper,” saying that “the quality is poor for the price charged.” They went on to say that these costs are a part of the “exploitation of students.”

Rent prices of on-campus accommodation have increased by 7.6 per cent for 2024/2025, after another increase of 14.1 per cent last year. When talking about this increase, Cerys Evans announced that “this is an increase that I do not support and have fought against.”

According to the Lancaster University website, the majority of self-catered ensuite rooms in all undergraduate colleges will cost £191.10 per week in 2024/2025, which is an almost £35 weekly increase from some accommodation prices for the same room type in 2022/2023. Shared bathroom self-catered accommodation will range from £129.71 to £157.29 per week.

The SU has recently been involved in fighting for a rent freeze on campus accommodation to try and prevent further increases. This agreement was made in late January, and marks the first time since 2015 that a LUSU officer has successfully negotiated with the University on the issue of the cost of student accommodation.

In response to this agreement, Lancaster University made a comment to LUSU, saying: “The University was pleased to work with the Students’ Union and offer some students accommodation at last year’s rate. In addition, we understand that many people are feeling the challenge of rising costs in daily life and as a result have significantly increased the funding to support students most in need.”

A spokesperson for Lancaster University said: “University and Students’ Union staff work together through the University’s Cost of Living Group to respond to the challenges and ensure students are supported. It was set up in 2022 and continues to meet. A wide range of initiatives have since been funded.

“There has been significant increase of funding to the University’s hardship fund (known as LOAF) in 2022-23 and 2023-24; free meal events through the SU and now through the Library too; free essentials via community cupboards/supermarket vouchers in each college and the introduction of a Student Money Advice Service.”

Survey results in full:

Does your maintenence loan cover your rent? Yes 34 per cent, No 66 per cent.

Do you rely on money from your family/friends to pay for living costs in Lancaster? Yes 74 per cent, No 26 per cent.

Have you ever had to get a part time job to cover your living costs at Lancaster University? Yes 63 per cent, No 37 per cent.

Have you ever used a food bank or food scheme? (E.g. The SU Supper Club) Yes 25 per cent, No 75 per cent.

Do you feel that the university offers enough financial support/financial advice to students? Yes 22 per cent, No 78 per cent.

LUSU has been approached for comment.

Financial advice and details of support options can be found in Lancaster University’s ASK portal.

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