29/09/2011 17:14 BST | Updated 29/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Students 'Cannot Meet Living Costs', Union Warns

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. 

According to figures released by the National Union of Students (NUS), students living outside London now face a shortfall of just over £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 £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 £8,242, the NUS claimed.

This leaves a shortfall of up to £8,037, the union said.

For students living in London, their living costs now total £17,428, with a potential income from Government grants and loans of £9,880, leaving a possible shortfall of £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.