Responding to George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review announcement today which saw huge cuts to student financial support at a time when students are already struggling financially the National Union of Students (NUS) said that the Chancellor had failed to understand the realities of students’ lives.
The Chancellor has effectively cancelled the National Scholarship Programme, which had been due to provide a vital £150m in small bursaries for the poorest undergraduates in higher education. Instead, the scheme will be cut by £100m from 2015 and the remainder transferred to other areas. The funding was due to matched by universities, leading to a total cut in support for undergraduate students of £300 million a year.
Toni Pearce, NUS President, said:
“By committing the Government to taking money out of students’ pockets through cuts to Nick Clegg’s National Scholarship Programme, George Osborne has turned his back on those for those who are not able to rely on financial support from their families.
“The Chancellor has shown a casual disregard for the realities of students’ lives, at a time when more than half worrying not being able to meet basic expenses like food, rent and heating and facing an £8,500 shortfall between the rising cost of living and available financial support.
“Student support is not a prize for getting into university, it is a vital lifeline for students that can be the difference between getting a degree or dropping out. The fact that unscrupulous loan sharks are preying upon students shows how serious the financial problems of many have become, and today’s announcements stand to make that worse, not better.”
NUS (National Union of Students) is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.
We are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students.