A photo of a student protest with people carrying placards reading "free education now, tax the rich"

8% of students in Wales have experienced homelessness during the cost of living crisis, a staggering survey has indicated. The survey of 570 students conducted by NUS Wales also found that half of those who have experienced homelessness experienced it for more than a week.

According to the survey, a quarter of students in Wales have said they were unable find suitable affordable accommodation in the 2022/3 academic year. Students reported living further away from their education provider or commuting from home to make ends meet. 32% of students said they had been unable to pay rent and 36% said the same of bills.

The survey also highlighted what NUS Wales argues is the negative academic impact of students having to pick up extra work shifts. The majority of students work alongside their studies, and 1 in 5 work more than 20 hours a week. 64% of those who do work said it negatively impacted their studies.

NUS Wales has said that the findings show show that maintenance support for students in higher and further education in Wales is failing to reflect the cost of living, and NUS Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to do more to support all groups of students, including apprentices on the £5.28 minimum wage.

NUS Wales President, Orla Tarn, said: “The fact that not much has changed for students in Wales, who continue to be left with so little to live on, should be a real red flag for the Welsh Government that it will need to act again to support students in 2023-24.

“One of my main concerns continues to be students’ mental health. We know that money troubles, housing issues and poor work-life balance can all be detrimental to your sense of well-being, and during the cost-of-living crisis all three have become more pronounced for many students.

“The Welsh Government acted last year by raising the undergraduate maintenance package and the EMA for further education students, but swathes of Wales’ student population – including students from outside of Wales, postgraduates and apprentices – have not benefited.

“I urge ministers to take these groups into account when designing support schemes and take real action to get spiralling student rent under control. The Welsh Government’s White Paper on Fair Rent cannot come soon enough for students paying through the nose for accommodation.”

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.

Image credit: Socialist Appeal – Creative Commons