Cost of living crisis: Where is the help for LCF students?

Rising bills, stress, and university cost: Shift talks to London College of Fashion students

Making the choice between being warm or being full is an unjust decision, but one forced upon many people this year. With the cost of living crisis, bills are at an all-time high, meaning that the choice has become unavoidable for some. 

One group of individuals affected are students. Beside the standard worries of pursing their degree studies, the added financial fear is overtaking their lives.

Although universities have no control over the cost of bills, a helping hand from them does not go unnoticed. However, this aiding arm is not always extended. 

Stephanie Carr is a 22-year-old Fashion Journalism and Content Creating student in her final year at London College of Fashion. “The cost of living crisis affects my university work,” Carr tells Shift.

She works nearly full-time hours to support herself, as her maintenance loans does not cover her rent and bills. This has inevitably interfered with her academic work.

Fellow classmate, Tahiti Carminia, is privately renting and says: “The cost of living crisis has severely affected myself as a student.” She finds it tough to find a balance as a working student: “There is no way London is survivable without working, whether that means prioritising shifts over lectures then ironically that’s what needs to be done if I want to continue studying.”  

At the esteemed London of College Fashion Stratford campus, food and drink prices are noticeably high. With lavish donor events taking place in the new building, students can’t help but feel they aren’t being supported.

The average canteen meal at a UAL campus costs between £5.00 and £8.00. Help was given last year when UAL introduced ‘value meals’ for £3.75. However, students feel that this is not enough.

University is a place where students expect to feel seen and cared for, yet this expectation falls short with the prices reflected in universities canteen. Carminia notes: “The prices in the canteen are literal extortion. I guess the university have to make a profit, but it’s sad to see the price of one banana or apple almost the same price as a whole bag of the same fruit at the supermarket.”

Carr feels that students are not supported at all. She explains, “the lack of awareness with the cost-of-living crisis in the university is disappointing especially as it is in central London one of the most expensive cities.” 

London College of Fashion’s hospitality provider, Baxter Storey, was unable to comment on the prices of the canteen.

Twenty-one-year-old fashion photography student Ellis Duckworth says: “The cost of living is really stretching my budget thin. Rent is impossibly high that I am restricting what I’m buying for food and perhaps not turning the heating on.

“The canteen prices are pretty expensive. I usually pack my own lunch or buy a meal deal so it’s cheaper because I can’t afford a £6 meal in the canteen every time I am in uni. The shops around also aren’t cheap, and I don’t really have much other option.”

Another London College of Fashion student, Felicity Mansell, is renting a home that is infested with mould. Despite her student finance and working alongside her degree, she is unable to afford heating.

Photo courtesy of Felicity Mansell

Students are cold, broke, and hungry. As winter sets in, they feel that support is crucial and needed now more than ever.

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