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Students are being priced out of a quality standard of living

Monday 09-03-2015 - 11:11

Join us on Thursday 12 March to challenge the narrative that substandard living conditions is a rite of passage for students.



For a long time people have accepted the image of students as skint, living off tins of beans in dire accommodation. We know that the reality is a lot starker than this caricature and that with the current Cost of Living crisis, students are seeking support from food banks and pay day lenders.

Whether you are an apprentice in an FE college, studying for A-levels or taking a degree in HE, across your educational career you are likely to experience hardships due to the simple cost of living.


What we’re calling for

There are six General Election policy asks we’re focussing on for this Day of Action:

  • Unpaid internships - we want the next government to introduce and enforce legislation that all work experience of over four weeks should be paid
  • Apprentice Pay – we’re calling for apprentices to receive the full, adult, minimum wage in line with all other workers
  • Youth Transport - We’re calling on the next government to make a commitment to young people offering free bus travel for all 16 to 19 year olds to ensure that no young person is prevented from taking up an opportunity due to transport costs
  • Education Maintenance Allowance - we’re calling for new, better EMA to be introduced.
  • Disabled Student Allowance - we are calling for a permanent halt to the cuts and the DSA reviewed in the context of five fundamental principles
  • Letting Agent Fees - We want to see an end to letting fees across the UK, enabling students and other tenants to fully understand their housing costs and budget effectively


Take action

We’ve created this infographic which demonstrates the desperate positions that students can fall into and we’ve also created this blank template for your students’ union to populate with stats about how your own students are affected by the cost of living crisis. The action is simple…

  • Get your students sharing the infographic across social media using #GenerationVote
  • Launch a listening action on your campus and ask whether they’ve been affected by these issues
  • Use this blank template to record your students’ stories
  • Meet your local election candidates armed with these case studies and ask them how they’d tackle the cost of living crisis
  • Speak to your advice/student welfare services to fine your own local stats on the situation
  • Register students to vote and let your local candidates know they’ll be voting on the issues.


Other ways your students’ union can get involved

Looking for more ways to engage your students with the Day Of Action? Here are some quick actions:

  • Start talking to your students about our six key policy asks above and invite them to share their opinions and experiences across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #GenerationVote. We’ll share the best on our live feed throughout the day!
  • Encourage your students to share their stories about the cost of living crisis online at www.nus.org.uk\costofliving, too!
  • Watch our share Maddy Kirkman’s video blog about how cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance mean denying many access to education
  • Remind your students that they can show politicians they want local public services to be protected by registering to vote in the General Election on Thursday 7 May.


Need more information?

We’ve put together this Day of Action toolkit with more information and ideas around the day’s actions.

In the run up to the General Election, NUS is holding regular Days of Action covering the key themes across the New Deal. You can find more information on our upcoming Days of Action online or by getting in touch with campaigns@nus.org.uk.

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