Hannah Hockin - President
The country continues to face a cost of living crisis that is having a detrimental impact on university students. The Student Academic Experience Survey (2023) showed that 76% of university students feel that the cost of living crisis has affected their studies.
Maintenance loans have only increased by 2.8%, but this falls short of the current rate of inflation which was 10.7% as of January 2023. Outrageously, rent for student accommodation has increased by an average of 14.6% over the past two academic years, according to a new report from Unipol and the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi). With such high rates, rent now swallows up almost all of the average maintenance loan. Back in June, Hepi found that 55% of students are now relying on paid work, compared with 45% in the previous year. The impact on students is clearly huge and we believe you deserve more support during this crisis at a government and university level.
As your Students’ Union, we are working proactively to help reduce the financial and mental burden caused by the crisis. From lobbying the University to running our own initiatives, there are a number of different ways we are working to support you through this challenging period.
We've put together this hub to let you know what support is available and to keep you up-to-date on our Cost of Living Action Plan.
Maia Jarvis, SU President (2022/23) lobbied the University to ensure the extenuating circumstances policy fully supports students and covers ‘ financial hardship’ as a reason for ECs. Read Maia's blog post to find out more.
Last year, Shrijeet Shrey (VP Education, 2022/23) lobbied the University to remove hidden costs when courses are advertised. You're already paying a significant amount of money to study so it's only fair that you're aware of all of the costs that come up before you decide to sign up.
Check out the University’s Cost of Living Hub.
If you're struggling financially, the University can help. Find out what support is available from the university.
As a Royal Holloway student, you can benefit from discounted childcare with Bright Horizons based in Englefield Green between 07:30 and 18:00. With full and part-time priority places agreed for Royal Holloway students, hopefully this will lighten the load.
Free period products, STI kits and pregnancy tests are available in the Advice Centre on the first floor of the Students’ Union building – you can pop in and pick them up between 10:00-16:00, Monday-Friday.
We run loads of events across our venues to help you enjoy the social side of university life. To help make things more affordable, we run a number of offers across the week - from £1.95 drinks at Toast to double down deals on food and drink at The Packhorse every Tuesday. This year, we've also introduced Thursday 3s and Saturday 7s at The Packhorse - two nights targeted directly at combating the impacts of the Cost of Living Crisis on your disposable income. Take a look at what's on with our events calendar.
If you’re looking to develop a new skill, flex your creative muscles, or simply unwind after a day of lectures, you’ll find something in our calendar of Give It A Go events. These are smaller-scale events (many of which are completely free) that are predominantly alcohol-free and focused on you meeting new people in a fun, relaxed and welcoming environment. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, culture vulture or just love a bit of art and craft, we'll have something for you.
This year, we introduced our brand-new app RHSU Order which you can use across our venues (Tommy's Kitchen, Medicine, The Packhorse, Union Shop and the SU Venue) to order, collect points and earn rewards that can be redeemed against future food and drink purchases. You can download the app from Google Play or the App Store. To say thanks for spending in our venues, we're offering 20% off your first order (exclusions apply) when you download the RHSU Order app! Scan your Loyalty QR code on five transactions between 12 February - 10 March and you'll also earn a £2.50 voucher to redeem against your next purchase (valid until 31 March).
We know that sometimes the cost of joining a student group can feel overwhelming, especially if your budget is tight. We also know that joining a student group can be one of the most rewarding parts of university life. It can introduce you to new people, perspectives and passions, and we’re really keen to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience that. That is where our Student Group Access Fund comes in - you can request up to £150 each academic year if you need it, to cover things such as group membership fees, kit and competition entry.
Whether you're on committee or a member of a club, check out this blog on how to overcome financial barriers when getting involved in a student group.
Our Advisors have put together an article that covers some of the costs that come when searching and signing for a house so that you know what to expect when you start house-hunting! You can also book an appointment with the Advice Centre to help you budget for the year ahead, especially when you're considering signing up for a new house.
Launched in February 2012, the Runnymede Foodbank is led by the Beacon Church with assistance from other churches and groups in Runnymede & Weybridge, including St John’s Church, Egham; Addlestone Baptist Church; Kings Church, Addlestone & St James’ Church, Weybridge. They aim to provide a lifeline for those experiencing financial hardship, who are desperately short of food. Reach out to the Advice Centre to get your voucher.
We've secured a discount from LOVESPACE who can provide solutions for all your storage needs. All you need to do is head to their website and enter the code RHOL10 at checkout.
Each year, we employ hundreds of students in paid part-time positions across the Union to help us achieve our aims: improving your education, making campus fun, looking after your wellbeing, making you more employable, and empowering you to change the world around you. Check out our Work With Us page for the latest opportunities. The Careers page on the Student Intranet is also a great place to find jobs and get help with applying.
Find out more about NUS's national campaign that is calling for rent controls, free transport, paying apprentices the living wage and increasing maintenance loans with inflation.
Share your story
As we deliver on our Action Plan aims, we will keep you and this page updated so keep an eye out!
Whether you've got an idea we could work on, want to be involved in some of our discussions, or want to share a student testimony from your own experiences in the cost of living crisis that will aid us in our lobbying agendas, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mon 12 Feb 2024
The Cost of Living Crisis is currently affecting nearly all areas of student life, and while participating in student groups can be one of the best parts of university, sometimes the costs can be a barrier. VP Societies & Sport has put together a list of top tips for students and committee members!
Tue 30 Jan 2024
With the rising cost of living in the UK, you may feel financial pressure and strain that could impact your studies. Despite any challenges you may be facing, we're here to ensure your time at Royal Holloway is a positive one.
Thu 07 Dec 2023
As part of our Cost of Living campaign, we held an SU on Tour event in the library to find your top money-saving tips. We've compiled them so that you have a super-handy list of ways to make the most of your time at university.
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