A Russell Group university has become the first to give students struggling with the cost-of-living crisis an energy grant.
The University of York announced that £150 would be given to student households who are finding it difficult to pay their bills as part of a £6 million package to support those youngsters most in need.
The Household Energy Grant will be given to 2,000 houses, however, households are only eligible if they are occupied entirely by students.
The helping hand comes after a University of York survey found that two thirds of its students were worried about their finances, with 11 per cent saying they didn’t talk to anyone about their money worries.
The University of York (pictured) has announced that it would give £150 to student households struggling to pay their energy bills
It comes as the National Union of Students (NUS) has warned that a third of UK students now have £50 or less to live on per month after paying bills.
Speaking following the grant announcement, the university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: ‘The cost of living is one of the biggest challenges facing our students as they arrive to start or resume their studies this term.
‘And we know many are extremely concerned about how they will pay the bills.
‘Even though energy prices are now capped they will still be around twice the level of last year.
‘Government support measures will have some impact, but many of our students face a very challenging situation.
‘Whilst many of our students are accommodated on campus, the Household Energy Grant is aimed at supporting those students who live off campus and who face considerable financial pressure as energy bills rise.’
Across the country, millions of people are having to tighten their belts amid the ongoing cost of living crisis spurred on by high energy prices and high inflation rates.
The UK is still not in an official recession, however, as a technical recession is defined as two quarters of decline in a row.
Over the coming months the university, which ranked 24th in the UK last year, said it has plans to help students even more in the coming months.
The energy support package will be used alongside existing policies such as bursaries to help cover rent, emergency loans, and an ‘Access Opportunities fund’ from the student union allowing struggling students to join in with activities.
Earlier this year in January, the campus started providing free sanitary products in an effort to combat period poverty.
NUS has praised the new support packages but warned the government needs to step in to help those left most vulnerable.
A survey by the University of York (pictured) found that two thirds of its students were worried about their finances amid the cost of living crisis
NUS Vice President Higher Education Chloe Field said: ‘This is a big win for York University Students’ Union in getting its students’ needs to the top of the agenda and is a great example of an institution and students’ union working together to support their students.
‘We would encourage other institutions to follow York’s lead, but the government also needs to take responsibility and put in place support for students across the country.
‘So far, students have missed out on most government support. Students faced a postcode lottery for council tax rebates and could miss out on energy bill reductions if they live in bills-included accommodation.’
The news comes as the number of undergraduates dropping out of university jumped by almost a quarter this year as the cost-of-living crisis heightens, the i reports.
Figures published by the Student Loans Company revealed that almost 40,000 students across the UK permanently dropped out of their university courses and stopped receiving their student loans.
Ms Field added: ‘In addition, full-time students can’t access Universal Credit through which significant support is being delivered.
‘Ministers should step in by urgently and dramatically increasing the level of maintenance support on offer to students, bring back non-repayable grants, and step in to take control of soaring rent, energy and transport costs.’