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University student part-time working is a dangerous blind spot

My article in the Guardian today ‘University students who work part-time need support – or they will drop out’ explains why the government should change tack and look more closely at supporting students into higher education this summer. The lack of part-time jobs, and families now reeling from unemployment, will hammer the sector. It is like a crash in slow motion caused by failing to see what was coming in the blind spot. 


Last week the posting at TEFS ‘Blind spot about student finances cruelly exposed by COVID-19 crisis’ revealed the situation in greater detail. The results of a Freedom of Information request to UK universities showed that there was little or no data on the extent to which their students need income from hours working during term time. But the COVID-19 crisis has uncovered a terrible problem that was largely unseen in the past. It will hardly have escaped their attention that the lack of employment in the crucial summer months will just make matters worse. 


The call for a ‘Taskforce on student support’ should be reinforced urgently. This is the best way to back every one of our universities at this time of crisis and get funding to them to continue. 
Most universities fear a decline in UK student numbers on top of a loss of international students and some are in a very precarious position (see TEFS 22nd May 2020 ‘How precarious are universities in the UK?’).

Time is running out and we need more action to avoid the crash. 

TEFS has posted other articles on this topic. 

Mike Larkin, retired from Queen's University Belfast after 37 years teaching Microbiology, Biochemistry and Genetics. He has served on the Senate and Finance and planning committee of a Russell Group University

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