Queen’s University to offer students financial support to help with cost-of-living crisis

The plight of students attending Northern Ireland’s universities is reaching a “critical” level, with Queen’s University set to introduce a range of measures offering financial support to combat the cost-of-living crisis.

ice-chancellor Prof Ian Greer said the university was facing “a critical incident” with thousands of students and members of staff struggling to afford energy and food costs.

It’s understood Prof Greer said he wanted to ensure an “appropriate institutional response” and that a working group has been established to “develop a plan on the interventions that need to be taken”.

The university has been allocated £2.7m to be distributed as hardship funds this academic year as part of a wider support package totaling £5.6m across the five higher-education institutions in Northern Ireland from the Department for the Economy.

“Once we obtain agreement on our response, we will communicate our action plan to students and staff with an announcement as soon as possible,” he informed the university community.

He said there was an “urgent need” to improve internal decision-making processes at the university to deal with cost-of-living issues.


Queen’s University Vice-chancellor Prof Ian Greer

The National Union of Students (NUS) said the financial package was “much needed,” with a third of the student population left with less than £50 a month to live on after paying rent and household bills.

“We’re hearing from students struggling to get by, who can’t afford to do their laundry and are cutting back on showers to make ends meet,” the NUS said.

“They can’t even cover the cost of getting to the library or classes. This is having a severe impact on their mental health, being kept awake at night due to finances.”

Ulster University said it was supporting the NUS-USI campaign around the ‘cost of survival’ for students, including introducing a yellow sticker system for unsold food on campus.

“We are working to set up food and book banks for those in need,” the university added.

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