Staff reflections on supporting students experiencing financial hardship

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• In 2023, the Secretary of State for Education acknowledged the significant impact of increased cost of living on HE students and provided £15m of funding support
• Recent research has drawn attention to issues such as food insecurity and decreased mental wellbeing impacting HE students as a result of financial pressures (Aldubaybi et al., 2024)
• However, there is a lack of research exploring the experiences of HE staff who directly support students facing financial hardship

Aim of Current Study:
To explore university staff experiences of supporting students facing financial hardship

• 76 university staff (33 males; 39 females; 1 non-binary; 3 prefer not to disclose)
• Academic (n=70) and support staff (n=6) from across the university.
• All engaged in student-facing roles
• Online survey developed for this study
• Demographic questions followed by open ended questions focusing on staff awareness of students facing financial hardship and experiences of supporting students in this context since September 2022
• Accessible means of participation for those unable or unwilling to join face to face interviews/focus groups (Braun et al., 2021)
• Survey link was shared across university networks
• Data collection took place between September and December 2023

Deductive content analysis was carried out to identify materialist, behavioural and psychosocial factors (Tucker-Seeley & Thorpe, 2019) relating to student hardship.
• Materialist: Financial resources that a person has access to. Concerned with social structures, distribution of resources, power and (in)equality.
• Behavioural: How a person uses their financial resources and how they adapt to financial pressures
• Psychosocial: How a person feels about their financial circumstances

Materialist Factors:
• High costs of travel, accommodation, food and heating are seen as problematic for students
• Travel expenses particularly challenging for students on placement
• International students struggle with accommodationlandlords requiring 6 months rent in advance. Staff have spoken to landlords on behalf of students
• More joined up approaches suggested to recognise and support the holistic nature of the student experience (e.g. consider food prices on campus, support with accommodation)

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusUnpublished - 5 Jun 2024
EventNU EDI Conference 2024 - Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jun 20245 Jun 2024


ConferenceNU EDI Conference 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityNewcastle Upon Tyne
Internet address

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion keywords

  • Social Mobility
  • Reduced Inequalities

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