Students aren’t all superhuman – that’s why means-tested grants must return | Letters

 In News

Many students have to do 20-plus hours a week of paid work to get by, and grants would let them focus more on learning than surviving, says Wendy Sloane, while Prof Andy Long also calls for reform of financial support for undergraduates

I’ve taught in higher education since 2010 and have known few students who haven’t had to take on paid work, often 20 hours weekly or more in low-paid retail or hospitality jobs (More than half of UK students working long hours in paid jobs, 13 June).

The lack of maintenance grants for less well-off students affects their livelihoods and education. It requires almost superhuman planning and fortitude to ensure that working long hours does not encroach on university life. One student got out of bed every weekday at 4.30am to spend four hours before class opening up a Pret – he graduated with a first. Another worked as a pub manager, often closing after midnight, yet managed to regularly attend class on time.

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