Socialist Students rally at NUS protest - photo Josh Asker
Socialist Students rally at NUS protest - photo Josh Asker

Theo Sharieff, Socialist Students national organiser

Starting university is a big step. But with millions of workers unable to heat their homes this winter, students have a cost-of-living crisis of our own.

Prices everywhere are going up – from food, to travel, to the cost of a night out – eroding the value of students’ already small maintenance loans, which didn’t get them through the term anyway.

Landlords are using the crisis to further cash in. Earlier this month, university accommodation provider UniHomes emailed students to renege on agreements to include bills in rent. UniHomes has protected its profits and thrown students into crisis.

Student rent in the private sector accounts on average for 74% of the maximum maintenance loan – which rises to 97% in cities including Bath, Bristol and Manchester! Socialist Students says that third-party accommodation providers should be brought under the ownership and control of our universities, as a step toward introducing democratically set rent controls.

Our campuses face further squeezes to finances as bills and expenses increase, threatening to give a new impetus to management and government cuts to courses and jobs on campus.

That’s why Socialist Students is out all across the country at freshers’ fairs, discussing with students about how we can get organised to demand action on the cost of living. Workers taking strike action have shown the way forward, and what can be achieved through collective action when organised. 

We say students need to get organised as well. Socialist Students wants to build a movement to win the funding our campuses need, to introduce inflation-proofed living grants for students in place of loans, and to scrap tuition fees and student debt. And we want to help students get organised to link up with workers in struggle.

Let’s make the super-rich pay for the cost-of-living crisis – starting with taking the energy companies into democratic public ownership, to run them on the basis of need, not profit.

Join the student fightback – Join Socialist Students

Megaphone – The magazine of Socialist Students