Earlier, the Minister announced £2.8m in support for higher education students studying in the North of Ireland.
Said the Foyle MLA: “While every additional penny of support is of course welcome, the truth is that the Minister is failing to grasp the enormity of the crisis facing students.
“Recent surveys from the National Union of Students have described how their members simply cannot make ends meet, turning to food banks in order to cope with the rising cost of living and have also heard how financial pressures have a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of our students who have frankly suffered enough over the past number of years.
“Many students are also often unaware of the financial support that is available, or find these hardship funds extremely difficult to access.
“It’s unconscionable that we are placing young people who are just trying to pursue an education in these dire situations.
“At a time when we should be making it as easy as possible for our young people to access further and higher education and develop the skills necessary to contribute to the economy and society, I am seriously concerned that the current financial pressures would make it more difficult to be a student now than at any time in living memory.
“The approach of this Minister and his previous DUP colleagues has been to wait until a crisis hits before taking the necessary action.
“We all know we are facing a difficult Winter ahead, so I will be writing to the Minister to ask what plans his Department is putting in place to support students through the crisis in the coming months and what engagement is he having with Student Union representatives to develop a thorough understanding of the challenges that their constituents will face.
“I have also asked what support the Minister will be taking in regard to further education students who seem to be totally forgotten about in this announcement.”