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Issue #1652      August 20, 2014

Undergrads face costs shocks

BRITAIN: Young people celebrating after winning a place at university will face “huge, unwelcome shocks” when they realise the cost, a charity has warned. The Money Charity said most students heading for higher education would have little idea of the colossal expenses involved – and warned that the principle of fair access to university was at risk as the cost of living soars.

On top of crippling tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year introduced by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition students now face spiralling accommodation costs while the price of life’s essentials continues to rise, it pointed out.

The average annual cost of a room outside London was now £4,100 – while in the capital it was now £5,400.

On top of the “financial support” offered by the state – a euphemism for loans that are saddling a generation in debt before they even enter the workplace – students in England will need as much as £750 a month extra simply to support themselves through university, the charity’s study found.

Where families are not in a position to foot such massive bills undergraduates will either need to juggle studying with a job or plunge themselves further into debt by applying for overdrafts and loans.

Government should conduct regular research into the cost of student living so that maintenance loans and grants reflected it, the charity said.

And it should ensure students were better informed about the likely cost of living in different cities.

It also mooted doling out student finance monthly in order to better reflect what young people will face after graduation.

But National Union of Students national executive council member Aaron Kiely said the bottom line was that “living grants aren’t high enough.”

“Frankly this news does not come as a surprise,” he told the Star.

“The cost of being a student is at a record high. Rents are rising, energy bills are up, travel and basic foodstuffs are getting more expensive all the time.

“Loans now barely cover the rent in many cases.”

Morning Star

Next article – Argentina takes US to World Court

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