Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
6 April 2022

UK students set for largest-ever drop in living standards

Students starting courses this year face a real-terms cut in support of 7 per cent.

By Ben van der Merwe

Students beginning courses in September are set to see a real-terms cut in maintenance support of 7 per cent, the largest yet in a single year.

The government is increasing maintenance support by 2.3 per cent based on last year’s inflation figures. With retail prices expected to rise by 10 per cent over the year to September 2023, however, the increase will still leave students with a 7 per cent cut in spending power, according to research by the House of Commons Library.

That cut comes in addition to the continued freeze of the income threshold required to qualify for the maximum maintenance support. The threshold is £25,000, but by the end of next academic year that will be equivalent to £23,982 in today's money, a 4 per cent real terms cut. When threshold has been frozen since 2008, when it was equivalent to £36,000 in today’s money -- meaning a fall of 30 per cent, adjusting for consumer price inflation.

With inflation at its highest level in decades, the government has been under growing pressure to tackle the cost of living crisis. Benefits have similarly been pegged to last year’s inflation figures, a decision expected to result in a real-terms cut of 6 per cent to Universal Credit, Job Seeker’s Allowance and Carer’s Allowance.

The government is also considering restricting access to student loans based on A-level and GCSE grades. The New Statesman estimates that the proposed rules could prevent up to 55 per cent of GCSE students from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing student finance, and at least 77 per cent of Gypsy and Roma children.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Content from our partners
How industry is key for net zero
How to ensure net zero brings good growth and green jobs
Flooding is a major risk for our homes

Topics in this article: