UK to provide £15m hardship funding for foreign students

The United Kingdom government has announced an additional £15 million in hardship funding for international students. 

The government will distribute the funds to universities, which will then distribute them to students who are struggling to keep up with the country's rising costs. 

According to the British government, this will supplement the £261 million student premium fund allocated this year - money aimed at assisting disadvantaged students, according to a report by The PIE News. 

"This extra funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own bursary, scholarship, and hardship support schemes," said Robert Halfon, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships, and Higher Education. 

Chloe Field, vice president for higher education at the UK National Union of Students, welcomed the funding but said it was "a quick fix to a long-term problem that has come to a head in the cost of living crisis." 

Field urged the government to take additional steps, including a rent freeze. 

According to data compiled by The PIE News, international students have long sought additional financial assistance from universities. Several British institutions reportedly paid out over £100,000 in hardship funding to foreign students during the 2021/22 academic year, and students have continued to request assistance this academic year. 

Stakeholders have joined the call for more government assistance for international students in the UK. 

"Without it, we are concerned that this will have an increasing impact on students' studies and wider mental health and wellbeing," said Tim Bradshaw, CEO of the Russell Group. 

According to The PIE News, Alex Proudfoot, CEO of Independent HE, said it was "disappointing" that the new funding would only be available to fee-cap registered institutions rather than all providers approved by the Office for Students. 

"Hardship can affect students wherever they choose to study, regardless of their institution's particular bureaucratic status," Proudfoot wrote on Twitter. Students should be able to rely on the same level of government assistance regardless of whether their college or university receives other government grants." 

Also, the CEO of Universities UK, Vivienne Stern, welcomed the new funding, adding that, "Throughout this cost-of-living crisis, our members have stepped up to provide support to students, from daily meal deals to increasing hardship funding, universities are working hard to offer much needed help to students. 

"This additional government funding will help to strengthen their efforts."

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