NUS-USI launch Cost of Living Report

NUS-USI launch Cost of Living Report

84% of students are worried about money with 22% worried all the time

Read the report here 

The report covers a wide range of issues including: housing, finance, transport and mental health.

NUS-USI latest Cost of Living Report found that:

  • Almost 40% shared dealing with the stress of the cost of living was impacting their mental health with a quarter considering leaving their course.
  • 68% have seen their housing costs rise with a quarter unable to pay rent or bills.
  • 3 in 5 students are having to work alongside their studies leaving them feeling busy all the time and struggling to concentrate with little time to socialise or take part in other activities. This is having a negative impact on their student experience.
  • A third of students have skipped a meal, one in five gone without heating and two in five missed out on social activities because of the cost of living. 7% have accessed a foodbank.
  • When it comes to needing financial support, students were most likely to turn to family and friends for a loan before looking at hardship or discretionary support from their college or university.

Chloe Ferguson, NUS-USI President commented

“The stories we are hearing from students across campuses in the North is harrowing. So many students are struggling with the soaring rise in costs leaving them unable to buy food, travel to class or have a life outside of studies and work. Our Students’ Unions are doing incredible work to support on campus through free breakfasts, winter warmer packs and more but we owe it to our students not to build an education system with poverty baked in."

“The government must step up and provide sufficient support to learners across Northern Ireland. Over the last week we have seen decision makers pledge action- promising a future that includes a sustainable economy and a thriving healthcare system. However, for that to happen we need to invest in good foundations, and that means dismantling the barriers to education. We cannot be teachers, electricians, nurses or any other profession without adequate support to make it happen. This isn’t just about the contents of our textbooks, it’s about the harsh reality of whether students can buy them and keep on top of every other bill that lands at our door.

Our message to decision makers is a clear one: help cannot come soon enough for students.  Learners are both the present, and the future of our society, and we can no longer go ignored.”


This isn’t just about the cost of living – it’s about the cost of survival. Sign our Cost of Survival Petition to show your support for students struggling and if you choose to stay updated on the campaign you’ll find out more about how to get involved with the campaign in the months ahead. 


The research is based on a survey of over 2,000 college and university students and apprentices that was carried out in Autumn 2023.


Radio Interview // Chloe voices concern for levels of student poverty in Northern Ireland (U105 Interview)

President Chloe Ferguson spoke about the harsh realities facing students during the Cost of Living crisis and outlined why students need support now, during a radio interview with U 105 Phone-In host Frank Mitchell.

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