Arthur takes a look at students who commute in the U.K- more and more students are living at home due to high expenses of university living.
With an increase in rental costs across the U.K, there is a reported 50% increase in students ‘commuting’ to some universities and living at home. Consequently, these students feel excluded from university for a number of reasons. Firstly, some don’t experience many nights out as they have to get the last train home and some have trouble attending all lectures if public transport isn’t sufficient. These findings come from a study undertaken by Liz Thomas, author of a recent study of the commuter student experience funded by the Student Engagement Partnership.
In a large number of cases, the maintenance loan offered to students isn’t sufficient enough to cover rent and bills for their accommodation in halls or in private housing. Most must resort to a part-time job so they can afford their rent.
One example of a university where 50% of the student’s commute is Kingston, south-west London. Kingston is catering for those who are commuting from areas as far as Portsmouth and Essex by scheduling later lecture times, so students can miss rush hour morning trains and the costs associated with that.
Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute says that universities could learn from the boarding school system in the U.K. Universities can cater for students that commute like a boarding school caters for their day students. In other words, universities can give full access to facilities in halls available to those who commute- so they can have access to the social life revolved around these communities. In return Hillman thinks these would lead to lower dropout rates and better academic outcomes.
Rent and bills is not the only cost involved with living in student accommodation, it’s the transport costs as well. Tube and rail cards in London are extremely expensive with a zone 1-3 travel card priced at over £100 a month- and these are increasing. In Jan 2018, there was a 3.4% rise in the cost of a travel card in London, not good news for students!
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