Student protesting fro free education. Photo: Mary Finch
Student protesting fro free education. Photo: Mary Finch

Katie Holden, Plymouth Socialist students

New and returning students going to university are told it is a place to learn, grow, and experience new opportunities. However, this may not be all that it cracks up to be for students starting this month.

Many students will find that they have to get part-time jobs or ask family members to help them out. However, asking family members to help is a privilege only some students have. Students from working-class backgrounds will have to work their way through university, which will also impact on their mental health as they battle between unforgiving deadlines, core hours of learning, and work, just so they can afford to cover rent and basic living costs. Housing and food prices are forever rising as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

I am heading into my third year and just the thought of completing my dissertation – while also job hunting, looking after my mental health and covering my basic needs – is daunting. The new maintenance loan scheme will mean students who start this year will pay for 40 years, not 30, and start paying when they earn £25,000 – lower than currently. More money to feed into government and corporation bank accounts.

Higher education needs to be free so students can have the university experience that has been advertised to them from college and sixth form. So students can study freely without having the extra stress of wondering whether they can afford to eat and house themselves, and afford to take part in all the opportunities that university has to offer.

Socialist Students says:

  • Fight the government’s debt repayment punishment – cancel all student debt, scrap fees and take the wealth off the 1% to fund it
  • End the student cost-of-living crisis! For real living grants
  • Students and campus workers – unite to fight for the funding our universities need!
  • Kick out the Tories. Starmer’s Labour doesn’t fight for us. Fight to build a new mass workers’ party
  • Fight for the socialist transformation of society, here and around the world
  • Get involved, visit