70 percent of students remain concerned about rent payments in the upcoming year, including those who are uncertain of their academic year success due to COVID-19, international students, students coming from minority communities, as well as students with disabilities who have emphasized how costs aggravate their worries, a survey by the National Union of Students (NUS) has revealed.
According to NUS, nearly 23 percent of British students stated they have been struggling to completely pay the last four months’ rent, Erudera.com reports.
The accommodation costs were unaffordable for many students since 28 percent of them have also claimed they couldn’t completely cover their bills during the same period either.
Out of 38 percent of students who live in temporary addresses during term time, about 32 percent of them returned to their term rent facilities right after Christmas, while 15 percent of them did not leave the facility during Christmas at all, the study points out.
57 percent of students who returned did so because they had paid for their housing and therefore wanted to use the accommodation. This underlines the significant advantage that rent refunds as one of the main demands of students, could have had on public health during the second wave of the COVID-19 virus.
The NUS National President, Larissa Kennedy, said students have been strongly affected by the effects of the pandemic, claiming that housing costs are “pushing them to the brink financially.”
According to Kennedy, students are often left to be exploited by accommodation providers who require tenancy contracts to be paid almost a year in advance.
“Instead of legislating to support students to leave their tenancies early, the government has left students to rely on charitable handouts from universities, hardship funds, and be at the whim of huge, exploitative accommodation companies and private landlords unwilling to offer rent reductions,” students’ president Kennedy claimed.
Amid pandemic, international students in the United Kingdom have also been experiencing financial uncertainty, which pushed them to require tuition refunds from their education providers. Nearly 32,000 people have signed a petition initiated by Jian Feng, aiming for international students to get partially or fully refunded by the UK. The petition needs to be signed by 100,000 people for the Parliament to consider and discuss it publicly.
Students in the UK have also reported mental health challenges since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. In a survey conducted last December by the Higher Education Policy Institute, about 58 percent of students claimed they experienced mental health implications, while more than a quarter said their mental health remained the same as before.