Heading to university is typically a rite of passage, marked by newfound independence, freedom and the prospect of unforgettable experiences. However, this year, statistics have shown that one in three students opt to remain at home over the campus lifestyle.
Sutton Trust and UCL's Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities study reveals the hidden truth behind this statistic. Financial constraints were the key driver for the 11,000 A-level students surveyed in England. The allure of university life comes with a vast price, which students can not afford.
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are even more pronounced, causing them to stay home and hindering their university experience. The survey shows that 20% of university applicants choose to stay home during the term, with an additional 14% considering moving. These limits are far-reaching, as they may limit personal growth and academic exploration that traditionally come with university life.
Despite the Department for Education emphasising that their student income system prioritises support for students from low-income families, student loans need to catch up with inflation. This lack of financial support needs comprehensive reform more than ever.
Undeniably, the cost-of-living crisis is at the forefront of students' choices regarding their education, potentially depriving them of the quintessential university experience they've been dreaming of.
Higher education institutions and policymakers need to address this issue to ensure that every student can pursue their academic aspirations without the burden of financial strain.