Spending cuts announced last week will hit one group of students particularly hard: those supporting a family of their own.
NUS has been a champion of student parents since publishing research into their experiences of further and higher education in 2009. Our research found that student parents are an inspiring, motivated group of learners, determined to succeed and to secure their future and that of their families. But we found that despite this aspiration, they are constantly tested by a range of financial, social and institutional barriers.
In 2009, 60 percent of student parents that we surveyed said that they had considered leaving their course as a result of these barriers. In 2010, the swathe of cuts that have been announced to welfare support and institutional funding is very likely to make those barriers and constraints insurmountable for some.
And for those considering a return to education, or who become pregnant during their studies, the new financial realities may simply make it too risky a choice.
Student parents are being attacked from all angles. 78 percent of parents we surveyed claim some kind of benefit; the announcements made last week about cuts to a range of welfare support will hit them particularly hard.
Housing benefit and local housing allowance cuts will see some parents unable to afford to continue studying as they attempt to cover the shortfall in their rent.
Meanwhile, the 65 percent of student parents who claim child tax credits, and the one in five who claim working tax credits, may find the reductions in these put them in a very difficult position.
Lone parents face an even more difficult future since the Coalition Government announced that it will put into place a regressive policy abandoned by the previous government, which limits lone parents' entitlement to Jobseekers Allowance.
From next year, lone parents whose youngest child is aged five will be forced onto Jobseekers Allowance, and will lose their entitlement to Income Support. What this means in practice is that they will have to be available for work, effectively rendering participation in further or higher education impractical.
When looking at the figures outlined in our briefing on cuts to benefits for student parents, it might be tempting to think that some of the reductions are proportionate or fair when taking into account the income of those in receipt of benefits.
But it is important to remember that the outgoings of student parents can be exceedingly high - and will almost always be higher than for other students.
For example, a parent in England with a child under two can expect to pay £4,576 over the course of a year for 25 hours a week of nursery care. This can rise to £11,050 per year for parents based in London. In this context, the loss of any benefits and tax allowances could prove disastrous.
But it is not only the cuts to income which will affect student parents. Changes to education funding will also create particular difficulties for this group.
As public funding is removed from all except 'priority' courses, we are likely to see courses closing as institutions focus on the subjects which generate the highest income.
But 92 percent of UK-domiciled students attend their nearest college or university, so as not to uproot their family, and in order to be able to rely on vital support networks - such as grandparents providing childcare - which sustain them during their course of study. What will these individuals do in the new funding structure? Travel 90 miles to the nearest institution that provides the course they want to do? Or will they decide that the cost is simply too great?
And we have already seen that the reduction in institutional funding leads to the closure of on-campus childcare facilities. Nurseries and crèches are a soft target for institutions since they are costly to run and benefit relatively few students. But they are essential for some student parents: such as those without a support network to provide care for free such as international students, women who are breast-feeding and need to be near their baby, and lone parents who lack a partner to provide childcare.
Who will care for their children if these facilities close? And can we rely on institutions to provide the necessary support to help these parents find alternative, affordable childcare arrangements if the worst happens?
Finally, the notoriously messy and complex interaction between student support and benefits which student parents rely on often leads to incorrect payments - which inevitably place student parents in financial difficulties. At these times, access to support funds such as the Access to Learning Fund can be the difference between paying the rent and not.
One in three student parents we surveyed had used a discretionary fund to get through their course of study - and half of these were lone parents. It is difficult to imagine how these parents will cope when a further £5 million is sliced from the Access to Learning Fund this year.
Students with children are an inspiration. They work hard to balance study, paid work and family responsibilities, whilst living on extremely tight budgets. And they do this willingly, because they are determined to improve their circumstances and to inspire their children to learn.
But even the most committed may find that the challenges they face when these cuts are imposed are too great to bear. And that will be a loss to them personally - but it will be a greater loss for their children, for our future economy and for our society.