Brunel with the highest number of students in rent arrears
Credit: Get West London
More than 17,000 students in the UK struggled to pay their rent last year - and Brunel University topped the list of students in rent arrears. Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that thousands of other UK students face financial hardship during their course, a trend that has grown by a whopping 16 % since last year.
“The increase is deeply worrying,” said Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Mora to The Guardian. “It has no doubt contributed to some students dropping out of their university courses altogether.”
Brunel University did not provide a comment on the high number of students in rent arrears, but stated in a generic message that any student who is finding it difficult to meet payment deadlines can apply to arrange an individual payment plan agreed with the Student Finance team.
While the recent figures have shed light on the financial situation of UK students, the problem is not unknown; an NUS report from last year revealed that students’ finances are in a ‘desperate situation’ with close to half struggling to cover the costs of essential groceries and travel.
“We need to urge the government and the higher education sector to wake up to the reality that students are being priced out of housing and higher education,” said Izzy Enga, National Union of Students vice-president to The Guardian. “Students are left in the precarious
situation where they’re uncertain how they’ll even pay their next month’s rent.” Yet, many of the students in the NUS report stated that financial worries affect more than merely their course of study - half of those surveyed have also experienced mental health issues because of their financial worries, with 42 % claiming it affects their relationships with friends and family. While none of the students living at Brunel University halls of residence have been asked to leave, according to a Brunel spokesperson, 21 of the 90 universities surveyed had evicted a student or cancelled their contract due to rent arrears.
Get in touch with Brunel University’s budgetary advice service if you feel financially overstretched or just need some help with planning your spending.