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By the Newsdesk


Sunday, October 16, 2011.


New analysis by the National Union of Students (NUS) has revealed that for the average student outside London the gap between Government provided student support and the cost of being a student has increased to £8,037 for this current academic year.


The rise of 10% from the 2010/11 shortfall of £7,310 demonstrates the need for the Government to increase the amount of support available to students while they study.


The average cost of being a student outside of London for the 2011/12 academic year is £16,279 with an average income from Government funded loans and grants being £8,242. For those living and studying in London the cost is £17,428, with a potential income of £9,880. This shortfall of £7,548 represents an increase of 11% on 2010/11


The move comes as NUS launch a new Student Financial Support Commission to perform an in depth analysis of the costs faced by students, the support measures available and find out if the right people are getting the help they need.


The commission which is being convened by NUS President, Liam Burns and NUS Vice-President (Welfare), Pete Mercer is made up of eight serving student officers and will be supported by five other experts in student finance and will issue calls for evidence. The group will convene for the first time on 17 October 2011.


The Government confirms that it stands to make profit from the higher education sector as teaching and research plus income from tuition charges backed by Government loans to students, will rise from around £9 billion in 2011-12 to around £10 billion in 2014-15. This is a rise of nearly 10% in cash terms.


At the same time, the Government is calling for greater efficiencies in the higher education sector from this current academic year, reflecting the financial constraint required of all publicly-funded services. The Government says that universities must increase cost-effectiveness and improve value for money.


Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable said:

“Since taking office, our overriding priority has been to reduce the fiscal deficit. We recognise the vital role that higher education plays, which is why revenue funding for teaching and research in higher education will rise by nearly 10 per cent in cash terms by 2014-15. But Higher Education, like other areas of public spending, has had to take its share of savings, and this will continue in 2011-12.”


However, NUS President Liam Burns argues that Government’s cuts will be disastrous for students and education experts point out that this will have serious negative impact of Black and other ethnic minority students who largely come from poorer households that White British students.


Liam Burns said:


“Not enough of the student support in the higher education system is getting in to the pockets of students and there is a real danger that the situation is getting worse.”


“There has been shocking leap in the gap between Government funding and the cost of being a student. The kinds of wages available to young people at the moment mean that many students without family support would have to work virtually full-time jobs or take on huge commercial debt whilst they study.



Mr Burns says that it is important that the public get a full picture of where the failings are.


“Of course tuition fees are a major disincentive for many students but it is the support funds available at university that define its affordability and whether or not many can last the course,” he says. “When this commission reports we will have some clear recommendations for the Government that they must listen to if we are to avoid rising numbers of students being unable to afford to study.”


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