Staff reflections on supporting students experiencing financial hardship

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Abstract

Introduction:
• 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

Method:
Participants:
• 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
Materials:
• 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)
Procedure:
• Survey link was shared across university networks
• Data collection took place between September and December 2023

Analysis:
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

Results:
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
Pages1-1
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
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/equality-and-diversity/learning-and-events/nu-edi-conference-2024/

Conference

ConferenceNU EDI Conference 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityNewcastle Upon Tyne
Period5/06/245/06/24
Internet address

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion keywords

  • Social Mobility
  • Reduced Inequalities

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