Students forced to work to afford living costs

A study carried out by the NUS and HSBC bank found that 46% of students had to get a job to pay for essentials like food, bills, and accommodation. The report also shows that the proportion of students who need to work during term time is higher at new universities that opened since 1992, such as Lincoln, rather than older institutions. More than three quarters of students will work at some point during their time at university.


Nearly half of all students are struggling to cope with the cost of studying at university and are having to get a job to cope with the financial strain. | Photo: Samuel Cox

Alanna Draper-Webster is one of the students who needs to work in order to make ends meet. She studies forensic science at Lincoln, and is also an agency worker at a food factory.

“Not only wouldn’t I be able to study if I didn’t work, due to the lack of support from the funding bodies I wouldn’t be able to eat either,” Alanna says.

For students like Alanna, working is not a choice but an essential activity to meet the costs of studying and living. Alanna explained that, on top of fees and living costs, she also has the responsibility of caring for her parents too, who are both disabled. She admitted this pressure to work could potentially harm her studies.

“I’m going to try my best not to let it affect my work, but after spending all day at lectures and then getting one hour of sleep before doing a twelve hour shift of physical work, I’m not sure I will always be functioning at my best,” Alanna says.

The study did indicate that students who worked while studying were split in their opinions as to whether their jobs had an adverse effect on their academic performance, and many felt that paid work could also help their employment chances after completing their course. Also, over two thirds of students work, at least in part to pay for luxuries like holidays and socialising and working allows them to make the most of their time at university.

Any student who is struggling to meet the cost of living and studying can apply for grants, such as the hardship grant or the access to learning fund, and can get more information of these and other grants and funding by visiting the Student Services department in the Main Academic Building, or find out more about getting a part time job through the Student Union’s Jobshop website.

One Response to Students forced to work to afford living costs

  1. Nick Jackson says:

    Luxuries are one thing, but my student loan doesn’t even cover accommodation and Lincoln is a relatively cheap place to live.