It follows the Minister’s response to an Assembly Written Question tabled by Ms. McLaughlin wherein the Minister confirmed that the maintenance loan for NI undergraduate students has not increased in over ten years, since 2010/2011.
Said the Foyle MLA: “It’s deeply concerning that a student going to university this year in 2022 is receiving the same support as a student in 2010.
“When you consider how much inflation has risen by, it hardly seems fair to expect students to cope on this paltry support.
“I am well aware of the myriad of cost pressures currently facing Departments and understand that Minister Lyon’s Department could not be expected to meet all the costs of increasing student support by itself.
“However, I would expect that the Minister would be sounding the alarm about this lack of support and advocating for a plan to increase investment into higher education.
“This winter, students are going to struggle like never before and I am really concerned that we will see a silent crisis develop for our young people.
“As we know, many students live in unsuitable housing that is frequently described as damp and cold and when you consider the upcoming impact of the cost-of-living crisis on energy bills, we really need to see measures to prevent more students being forced into poverty.
“I’ve also asked the Minister what assessment he has made of the current asks of the national Students’ Union’s campaign so we can ascertain what support can be provided this winter.”Tags: