New research has suggested that three-quarters of students who receive maintenance loans feel stressed about the amount of debt they accumulate while studying, with 39% saying they cannot afford their weekly food shop. The top three items students said they spend their money on were rent (78%), food (69%) and utility bills (47%), with the average student loan fund running dry by the sixth week of term.
Financial obligations and increasing academic pressure will be weighing heavily on our students’ minds. The demands of campus life are shaped by societal, political and economic patterns, and as such we must ensure our student experience programme is optimised towards stability, consideration and accessibility.
Implementation of accessible food and beverage options is key to safeguarding welfare, maintaining mental clarity and mitigating negative health outcomes. Price appropriate, convenient and nutrient-dense food solutions delivered within sociable environments will encourage collaboration and cultivate new social relationships between otherwise distant groups.
The combination of cost-effective, sociable outlets and accessible ingredients will support student wellbeing, reduce stress and positively impact the student experience
Convenience stores across campus must also be cognisant of students’ monetary concerns, and in turn implement programmes to support native students whose living costs outweigh income. For example, subsidiaries on nutritious foods such as wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lean protein will not only protect wellbeing, but will guide students towards healthy lifestyle habits capable of supporting academic attainment, energy levels and overall wellbeing.
The combination of cost-effective, sociable outlets and accessible ingredients will support student wellbeing, reduce stress and positively impact the student experience. By delivering nutrient-dense offers, it reduces students’ mental load and provides an opportunity for students to enjoy campus living and focus on the importance of their studies, connection with peers and self-actualisation.
With the total student debt owed in the UK at £71bn – our students are leaving university with the highest average debt in the English-speaking world. So, instead of debt, duty and uncertainties let’s ensure our students leave our universities with healthy minds, thoughts and bodies – but equally important, let’s ensure that our students leave with financial security and many positive memories of their university experience.
Professor David Russell is the founder and chairman of the Russell Partnership, the UK's leading Strategic Food Consultancy