The United Kingdom government has announced an additional £15 million in hardship support for international students.
The government will provide the funds to universities, which will then distribute them to students who are struggling to keep up with the country’s escalating costs.
According to The PIE News, this will build on the £261 million student premium fund allocated this year.
Minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, Robert Halfon, said in a statement, “This extra funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own bursary, scholarship and hardship support schemes.”
Chloe Field, vice president for higher education at the UK National Union of Students, welcomed the funding but said it was “a fast answer to a long-term problem that has come to a head in the cost of living crisis.”
Field urged the government to take additional steps, including a rent freeze.
According to data compiled by The PIE News, international students have long sought further financial assistance from institutions. Several British colleges reportedly handed out over £100,000 in hardship support to international students during the 2021/22 academic year, and students have continued to request assistance this academic year.
Stakeholders have joined the appeal for additional government aid for international students in the UK.
“Without it, we are concerned this will have an increasing impact on students’ studies and wider mental health and wellbeing,” said Tim Bradshaw, CEO of the Russell Group.
According to The PIE News, Alex Proudfoot, CEO of Independent HE, said it was “disappointing” that the extra cash would only be accessible to fee-cap registered institutions rather than all providers certified by the Office for Students.
“Hardship can affect students wherever they choose to study, regardless of their institution’s particular bureaucratic status. Students should be able to count on the same support from government irrespective of whether their college or university receives other government grants,” Proudfoot remarked on Twitter.
Also, the CEO of Universities UK, Vivienne Stern, welcomed the new funding, adding that, “Throughout this cost-of-living crisis, our members have stepped up to provide support to students, from daily meal deals to increasing hardship funding, universities are working hard to offer much needed help to students.
“This extra funding from the government will help to shore up their efforts.”