Cost of living

The current cost of living crisis is impacting everyone, with students affected by price rises in food and living costs, travelling and commuting, and study resources such as technology.

To understand, how we can support our students through the cost of living crisis, we conducted a survey in November 2022. Over 700 students responded to the survey.

They told us that the areas where they most need additional support include:

  • Food and living costs, with over 60% students citing this as most urgent, with daily living costs for food, rent and accommodation costs rising.
  • Travel / commuting costs is the second largest issue is, with around 50% of our home undergraduate students commuting to the University and costs for public transport, parking etc also high.
  • Technology costs to support students’ studies, such as broadband, laptops and associated consumables are all rising.

Aston University has put together a package of measures to help its students.

1. Daily meal for £1 in Café Tierra

We’re offering all Aston University students and staff a hot pasta lunchtime meal every day for just £1. This will be available in Café Tierra in the Main Building from Monday 9 January 2023, from 11:30 - 14:30 daily until the Easter 2023 break. 

2. Free Wednesday breakfast and free fruit daily in the Students’ Union

Aston University students can enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast every Wednesday morning in the Students’ Union. This will resume after the Christmas break on Wednesday 11 January and is available from 9:30 to 11:00 every Wednesday.

Our students can also enjoy free fresh fruit in the Students’ Union every day.

3. Aston Students’ Union (ASU) pantry

The ASU Pantry has some basic ingredients on offer for students to cook and eat. 

Students are encouraged to use this resource as a ‘swap shop’, taking food when they need it, and dropping off any food that they don’t need.

The ethos is ‘Give food when you have it and take food when you need it.” 

The ASU Pantry is available to students during the Students’ Union’s opening hours.

4. £10 monthly travel contribution*

We will be giving £10 subsistence contributions monthly, towards the costs of travel cards for 3,500 students. The contribution will be made for 6 months from January 2023.

To be eligible for this Travel grant, you must be:

  • A full-time home fee paying undergraduate student with a household income of less than or equal to £25,000 (excluding placement year); OR
  •  A full-time postgraduate taught or research students; OR
  •  A full-time international student (excluding placement year); 

AND

We will use information on your current UK residential address to assess if you live in an eligible postcode. To check if your postcode is eligible, contact student@aston.ac.uk.

Eligible students will be contacted in early January with details of how to receive the grant into their bank account.

*Terms and conditions for the travel contribution eligibility:

  • Students must be full-time students enrolled for the 2022/23 academic year by 24 January 2023.
  • Home undergraduate students with a household income of less than or equal to £25,000 per year (data from Student Finance as at 24 January 2023 and taking only the latest record we have for this academic year).
  • Excludes students on exchange years, placement year, a leave of absence, repeating a year, or writing up.
  • Excludes students on closed foundation degrees, occasional and part-time courses, and part-time and full-time distance learners. 
  • Travel contribution available to students in eligible postcodes.
5. Free SIM cards*

The Vodafone Foundation, in partnership with The Access Foundation, have donated 1,000 SIM cards to under-represented students at Aston. Each SIM has 20GB data each month, plus unlimited UK texts and calls, and is valid for 6 months from activation. Further information will be announced in January/ February 2023.

6. Free social sport initiative

Sport Aston is planning to launch a social sport initiative in January 2023. There will be free weekly sessions for students and staff throughout term 2 for badminton, basketball, netball, football and dodgeball. 

Our friendly Sports Activators will attend each session to make sure everyone feels welcome. These sessions will provide students and staff with somewhere to socialise with others, helping to improve their health and wellbeing.

Look out for further details in the new year at the Woodcock Sports Centre and on the University and Students’ Union’s social medial channels.

Additional support services for students

There are a range of support services available to students, from money advice to emotional and wellbeing support. We are here for you, so please reach out if you need help.

You can visit the HUB in the first instance or contact one of the specific teams below for free and confidential advice. We are here for all students, whether you are a UK or international student, live at home locally with family, a mature student or a distance learner.

Our trained advisors can help with budgeting, debt advice, housing matters, and can advise on any scholarships or funding you may be eligible for.

If you are struggling, we encourage you to reach out as it is better to ask for help before finding yourself in a crisis situation.