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40% of UK University Students Contemplate Dropping Out Due to Rent Struggles: Report

The survey found about 7% of the students surveyed experienced homelessness.
Cover Image Source | Pexels | Photo by Stanley Morales
Cover Image Source | Pexels | Photo by Stanley Morales

The new National Student Accommodation Survey 2024 has revealed the plight of university students living in the UK amid the cost-of-living crisis. Released by Save the Student, the survey indicated that about two in five students in the UK have considered dropping out of university due to the cost of rent while 7% experienced homelessness during their studies. Rent payments have been a continual challenge for students amid higher-than-average inflation, the survey conducted with over 1,000 universities revealed.


"The results of this year's survey are deeply concerning, and highlight how life in a cost of living crisis is at risk of becoming the new normal for students," Tom Allingham, Communications Director of Save the Student, said in the official release.

Students who have successfully secured housing are paying a reported average monthly rent of £550 (approx. $696). Out of this, about 44% of the students stated they faced occasional struggles.

The Maintenance Loan, which was increased by 2.5% this year, often does not cover all student expenses. Such students in the survey said that they had to borrow money from parents, banks, friends, credit cards, or employers to pay rent.

Last year, a study conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) indicated that the cost of living crisis forced university students to take on more hours in their part-time jobs, with most saying that it affected their studies.


Among the students surveyed by Save The Student, about 72% of students revealed that their health was also being affected by rental expenses. Further, 45% of the students mentioned that their studies were impacted.

Apart from high rent costs, students are also facing ongoing difficulties with the current accommodation arrangements as well.

In the survey, dampness emerged as the most prevalent issue, affecting a while shortages of water or heating affected 29% of the surveyed students.

Further, about 35% of the surveyed students reported delays of over a week in addressing their accommodation concerns.


On the issue, the chair of the National Association of Student Money Advisers, Kellie McAlonan, said, "The Maintenance Loan in England needs a revamp," in a Euro News report. 

"Students can't be expected to plug the gap between basic living costs and the student funding they receive, and it is becoming increasingly more difficult for institutions to shoulder the burden of a system that is not working," she added.

The cost of living crisis has prevailed in the UK since the COVID-19 pandemic. It increased sharply across the country during 2021 and 2022 with the annual inflation rate reaching 11.1% in October 2022, a 41-year high. This massively affected the affordability of goods and services for households.

However, since last year, the inflation rate has fallen. The average forecast among economists surveyed by the Treasury in the first half of January 2024 was for inflation to average 2.2% by the end of 2024. However, in its latest set of forecasts, the Bank of England forecast the CPI inflation rate to average 3.1% in Q4 2024.

However, a falling inflation rate does not mean that the cost of products is also falling. For instance, if the annual inflation rate drops from 10% to 5%, this means prices are still 5% higher.

Further, the Bank of England also increased interest rates to rate back the inflation rate to its 2% target. In 2023, the interest rates were raised to 5.35% from 0.1% in December 2021 and they have remained unchanged, making loans and credit more expensive.