The University of Manchester has committed to making cost of living support payments of £170 to over 40,000 students.
Full time students will be eligible to receive £170, while part time students will receive £85. There are plans to make a second round of payments to targeted student groups in 2023.
In total, the University has committed around £9 million to the package, making the project the largest and most comprehensive support package so far announced by any English university.
The project is a result of discussions between the University and the Students’ Union, who have been working to help students through a cost of living working group.
The Students’ Union had already secured £360,000 in funding, which was allocated to support projects such as the Cosy Campus scheme, a Rent Guarantor scheme, and the Students’ Union’s emergency loan fund. Earlier this year, University had already committed to payments of £1000 to many of its staff.
Union Affairs Officer Sam Bronheim, speaking on behalf of the Executive Officers, commented that the Students’ Union had “ valued collaborating with the University on this project”. She continued: “we hope students feel that through the Students’ Union their needs have not only been heard but met by the University”.
This comes after a Students’ Union survey revealed 80% of University of Manchester students are concerned about the cost of living crisis. The survey over 5000 students also revealed 60% of students are looking for part-time work because of the crisis, and 67% of students’ mental health has been negatively affected by the rising cost of living.
Other universities have also committed funds to support students financially. The University of Warwick has committed £3.5 million to help 3000 students from low-income families. Similarly, the University of York has committed a £6 million package, including £150 Household Energy Grants for student households.
April McMahon, Vice President for Teaching, Learning and Students, said: “The cost of living crisis is a major concern for our students, especially at this time of year. I’m so delighted that, working closely with the Students’ Union, we’ve been able to offer this payment. We also have wider support in place including wellbeing and further financial support through our Cost of Living Support fund, so would encourage any student that needs our help to please reach out.”
The University of Manchester Students’ Union Executive Officers said: “As your elected officers we’re really proud of this achievement. It’s been a long time in the works but it’s all totally worth it, and the response from students has been really wonderful. Thanks to the University/Union Cost of Living Working Group and the Students’ Union staff for all the great work.”
“Make sure that if you’re suffering due to the Cost of Living Crisis you reach out to your Students’ Union. Our advice service can help with wellbeing and financial queries, and they’re open 10am-4pm Monday to Friday (12-6pm Thursday) – they can walk you through an application to the Cost of Living Support Fund (up to £2000!). We also have an emergency loan scheme, and other grants. Check out the Cost of Living page to let us know what you’d like to see next.”