Students were informed today, via email, that Lancaster University has pledged an additional £2.2m to assist students facing financial difficulties this year.
Prior to today’s announcement, 93% Club Lancaster had issued a petition calling for Lancaster University to provide its students with a cost of living payment, similar to the one-off payments issued by the University of Manchester and Queen’s University Belfast. University of Manchester’s initiative cost £9m which was the largest pay-out of any UK University, reports The Mancunion.
In the petition, signed by over 200 students, The 93% Club Lancaster highlighted that ‘the cost of living crisis is a cost of learning crisis’ and that this crisis is ‘detrimental to students’ well-being and their educational studies.’
The petition went on to note that ‘We believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive’ appears on the University’s website and that students expect these words to be matched with actions.
Although there has been no progress on a cost of living payment, the £2.2m increase announced today, boosts the overall allocation of funds to help students in financial hardship to £5.6m for the 2022-23 academic year. Consequently, the Lancaster Opportunity and Access Fund (LOAF) will double, awarding students up to £500 and it will also boost bursaries and stipends paid to students.
In case the LOAF fund comes under any further pressure, it will continue to be monitored as students submit applications under the new criteria which will now take into account rising living costs.
As well as the £2.2m pledge, a joint University and Students’ Union working group led by Dr Casey Cross, Associate Academic Dean for Students, has also been announced. This group is going to continue developing new support offers as it leads the University’s response to the increase in student living costs, in areas such as:
- Travel expenses,
- Food and drink on campus,
- Access to social events,
- Student wellbeing,
- Minimising the effects on students’ academic progress
To find out how to access the funds and advice, follow the link here