Many students are left thousands of pounds out of pocket because Government grants and loans do not cover the cost of studying, a union has claimed.Â
According to figures released by the National Union of Students (NUS), students living outside London now face a shortfall of just over Â£8,000.
Their analysis, based on existing figures, suggests that the average cost of being a student outside of the capital in 2011/12 is Â£16,279. This includes costs such as tuition fees, books and equipment, rent and food.
At the same time, a student's potential income from grants and loans totals Â£8,242, the NUS claimed.
This leaves a shortfall of up to Â£8,037, the union said.
For students living in London, their living costs now total Â£17,428, with a potential income from Government grants and loans of Â£9,880, leaving a possible shortfall of Â£7,548.
NUS president Liam Burns said: "Not enough of the student support in the higher education system is getting into the pockets of students and there is a real danger that the situation is getting worse.
"There has been a shocking leap in the gap between Government funding and the cost of being a student. The kinds of wages available to young people at the moment mean that many students without family support would have to work virtually full-time jobs or take on huge commercial debt whilst they study."
The analysis was published as the NUS launched a new Student Financial Support Commission to look in depth at the costs students face, the support available and whether students are getting the help they need.