The Sutton Trust has published new polling commissioned for the BBC on the impact of the rising cost-of-living on university students.

The polling explores students’ experiences of undertaking paid work alongside their studies, including the impact on lecture attendance and meeting deadlines.

According to the polling:

  • About half (49%) of undergraduate students have missed classes this academic year in order to do paid work, with 6% reporting they do this often.
  • Just under a quarter (23%) report that they have missed a deadline or asked for an extension in order to work, with 11% reporting this has happened more than once this year.
  • Two thirds of students report undertaking paid work in a typical week in the current academic year. 38% report working 15 or fewer hours per week, 20% report working 16-30 hours per week, while 6% report working over 30 hours per week, close to the equivalent of a full time job.
  • Of students in second year and above, 31% reported increasing their hours of paid work this year compared to last year.
  • Students at post-1992 universities were most likely to be undertaking paid work at 69%, compared to 61% at Russell Group universities, though those at Russell Group universities were more likely to have increased their hours since last year.
  • 67% of those from the most deprived areas of the country have worked during term this year, compared to 59% in the least deprived areas. They also work longer hours, with 29% working more than 15 hours a week, compared to 19% of those from the most advantaged areas. There is some evidence however that it is those from more advantaged areas who have needed to increase their working hours this year in order to keep up with costs.
  • 16% of those from the most deprived areas have missed deadlines more than once due to paid work, compared to 8% of those from the least deprived.

The Sutton Trust is calling for the government to urgently review the funding available to students for day to day living costs. In the medium term, the government should reinstate maintenance grants, at a level reflecting increased costs of living since they were abolished in 2015.

View the full polling tables.

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