Friday, 26 September 2014

Students reliant on foodbanks, as Cambridge named UK's most expensive city to study in

Students in Cambridge are turning to food banks to make ends meet, as the cost of living in the city continues to rise.

Research commissioned by Santander bank has shown students in Cambridge struggle with the highest living expenses in the country, at an average of £10,778 per year, before tuition fees are even considered.

In contrast, students in Cardiff spend around 29 per cent less, currently averaging £7,649 per year.
After tuition, accommodation is the biggest expense for students, followed by bills, food and transport, with the average annual cost of a three-year course rising almost seven per cent since 2013.

Daryl Sharpe, president of Anglia Ruskin Students' Union said she recognised the problems associated with making ends meet, and that students in the city were now turning to charity.

"If people have moved to a new area and are struggling we do have our advice services", she said, "and we're currently working really, really closely with a local foodbank service."

"Fortunately there are not troves of them, but we do know there are students in very small numbers that do occasionally fall on hard times."

She pointed to rental costs in the city as the biggest cause for concern.

She said: "We recognise how expensive it is to live here. Some of the house prices in and around Cambridge are leveling out with what you have in London.

"For students, fees don't come across as money out of your pocket, but here in Cambridge one of the biggest things that has an effect is the rent.

"More students are having to go out and work longer hours alongside their degree to make sure they have money to pay for their rent."

The college system at the University of Cambridge means most students there don't rent privately in Cambridge, but they also face mounting costs of living.

Jack Wright, welfare and rights officer at the Cambridge University Students' Union said: "The cost of living in Cambridge is ridiculously high, and some aspects of student life do really exaggerate this further.

"Mandatory kitchen charges and lack of personal kitchens in Cambridge halls don't allow students access to standard ways of saving on food costs, like big freezer packs of food and bulk cooking.

"It is the stated aim of the University that nobody should have to abandon study due to financial considerations, and we at the students' union work to the best of our ability to make sure this is true in practice."

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