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SU Cost of Living Survey Summary

At the end of last term, we created a survey to collect data on students’ experiences during the cost of living crisis. Here are the results.

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At the end of last term, we put out a survey to collect some data on students’ experiences during the cost of living crisis. The survey was used to provide a more accurate reflection of student experiences, and we'd like to thank everyone involved for taking the time out to fill the out the survey.

We have been pushing for various solutions from the University, such as an increase in the accessibility and size of the hardship fund, subsidising food and drink on campus, and increasing support for PGR students (you can find out about some of the work we’ve been doing so far around the cost-of-living crisis here). 

Unfortunately, we have been unable to make progress on several provisions for students; we feel that there is a perception within the University that students have not been widely financially struggling during the cost-of-living crisis. 

We are currently still analysing the data, and will be coming out with more precise data based on the experiences of different student groups, such as international students and medical students. But we wanted to give you the headlines as soon as we could.

Sadly, the results are bleak: the survey shows that most students are struggling with the impacts of the crisis.

 

“Please mark to which extent you agree or disagree with the following statements regarding your feelings to finance and your experience of the cost-of-living crisis.”

  • 86% of students agreed with the statement “I have needed to cut back on spending to cover living costs”

  • 39% of students disagreed that they could afford all necessary bills and living costs

  • 26% of students indicated that they cannot afford the cost of their rent

  • 64% of students said that the cost of living crisis has had a negative impact on their mental health

  • 69% of students disagreed with the statement “I can afford to join a sports club at Warwick SU”.’

  • 45% of students disagreed with the statement “I can afford to join a society at Warwick SU”

  • 68% of students disagreed with the statement “I can afford to purchase food and drink on campus”

  • 59% of students said they had to work alongside their studies to cover their living costs, and 36% said that they have had to increase their hours of work due to the cost of living crisis

  • 70% agreed that they have missed out on social events due to costs

  • 14% of students have “seriously considered dropping out of university”

A separate question indicated that 30% of students have used credit cards or services such as Klarna or PayPal Credit since the start of this academic year.

 

We asked students about the hardship fund, and if they knew how to access it for their needs.

  • 45% of students do not know what the hardship fund is, and 22% said that they have not applied but are looking to receive support

  • 41% of those accessing the hardship fund disagreed that they found the process straightforward, and only 20% agreed that they had been effectively supported during their applications

  • 42% disagreed with the statement that “my application was dealt with in a fair manner”, and 51% strongly disagreed with the statement that “I have received adequate support from the hardship fund following my application”

Additionally, students had a chance to document their experiences with the hardship fund. Within this, students had mentioned that the process felt invasive, added stress, and they felt the reasons behind their rejection from the hardship fund was unfair.

Some students had raised concerns with their ability to survive through the cost-of-living crisis due to their denials from the fund, and others had to take on more work to subsidise the lack of funding they received.

 

We asked students about their transport, and if the cost of living crisis was affected their ability to travel.

  • 47% of students disagreed with the statement “I can afford the cost of travel to campus”

  • Less than 4% of students felt that parking charges on campus are fair

  • Only 17% felt bus services provided value for money

 

A section within the survey was dedicated to disabled students, asking if their needs had been impacted by the cost of living crisis.

  • 57% of disabled students who responded said that they could not afford to purchase additional necessities that they need due to their disability, and 49% strongly disagreed that Disabled Student Allowance covered all the costs posed by their disability

  • 62% of disabled students were worried about how the cost-of-living crisis may impact their ability to afford disability-related costs

 

"Please select which items, if any, from the list below that you have cut back on, or are likely to cut back on, due to the cost of living”

  • Purchasing food/drink on campus - 89% 
  • Buying clothes, shoes and accessories - 86.5%

  • Social events (nights out / trips) - 84.9%

  • Food shopping - 69.1%

  • Gym/sports and fitness costs - 60.3%

  • Transport costs (reducing the number of journeys made) - 58.3%

  • Hair and skin care products - 54.8%

  • Course costs (equipment and textbooks) - 25.2%

 

Students were able to vote for areas of support which they would find the most beneficial during their time at the University of Warwick. Here's what the students have asked for:

  • A one-off payment up to the value of £200 - 55.8%

  • An affordable food cafeteria on campus serving hot food - 49.9%

  • Subsidising energy bills (for those off campus) - 47.7%

  • Subsidising buses and other forms of public transport to and from campus - 44.4%

  • More affordable campus facilities, e.g., subscription services and discounts in food outlets - 35.2%

  • Subsiding the costs of joining a Sports Club or Society at Warwick SU - 30.7%

  • Subsidising parking costs on campus - 29.4% 

  • Offering free food staples - 28.9%

  • Better access to the Hardship Fund - 17.4%

  • Subsidising laundry costs - 12.6%

 

These results are deeply troubling. We want you to know that we are fighting your corner, and we are increasing our efforts to get the University to step up and deliver the support that students need. We hope that this survey update paints a realistic picture of the current situation for students at Warwick, and allows for action to be taken to help students through the crisis. 

Reflecting on the survey results on students’ ability to afford food during this period, we will also be starting to run a foodbank from Week 4, based in the SU atrium, open to all students. Keep an eye out for details on times and days. We may also be looking for volunteers to help run the stall, and potentially also to help distribute food to students not based on central campus.

We'll also be hosting a cost of living open meeting on Tuesday 31st of January at 4:30-6pm in MR2 in the SUHQ building, ran by Tomi (VP Welfare & Campaigns) and Kieran (Widening Participation Officer). We want to let you know more about what we've been doing, as well as listen to you about the issues you've been facing. This will also be a safe space to tell us what you think we should be doing to support students in this crisis. Hot drinks and snacks will be provided.

If you're struggling, please don't hestitate to contact us.

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