Supporting our BNU community with the cost of living crisis
The cost of living crisis is a worrying prospect for everyone and BNU is particularly concerned about how it will impact many of our students and staff. With the rising costs of bills, food and transport, it is an increasingly difficult time.
Keeping costs down has always been a key part of the University’s strategy, but with the worrying news of late, colleagues across the University have been working together to make sure we’re doing all we can to support our BNU community further. Our Cost of Living Hub has everything in one place, a summary of which is below.
In September, BNU began funding subsidised food and free meals for our staff and students which offers potential monthly savings of £100. Everyone can benefit from new, 30% cheaper menus in the Beats, Pulse and Basin cafes, as well as free evening meals in The Lounge, High Wycombe, on Tuesdays and Thursdays (5.30-7.30pm) and Sundays (7-8.30pm).
We have kept our accommodation rates for halls of residence at pre-pandemic levels, saving a student £1,166 per room per academic year for 2022/23 which is around £27 a week.
We’re also committed to removing financial obstacles so that all students can participate fully in university life. BNU proudly funds the Big Deal, which offers students access to free societies, sports, recreation, entertainment and skills development sessions which are curated by Bucks Students' Union. This adds up to savings of more than £200 a month for a student who each week attends three events such as club and comedy nights; is a member of two societies; tries their hand at a new skills development activity and plays for a sports team, compared to the average charges at other institutions. Find out all that's on offer at the SU’s What’s On page.
We continue to work with Bucks Students’ Union to play our part in tackling hygiene poverty. We provide free period products in bathrooms across our campuses, and we are also relaunching our Give to Refresh initiative, which will make hygiene products including toothpaste, shower gel and make up wipes available in our bathrooms as well. The donated items are available to all students, no questions asked.
In addition to the subsidised and free food now available on campus, staff can also save money through our membership of VIVUP with upfront discounts from the UK’s top retailers to help with everyday living costs. There are no parking charges and it’s also free to charge electric vehicles in our car parks, while we recently announced an additional discretionary day during the Christmas holidays. We also work with Care First, our Employee Assistance Programme, which offers free and confidential advice on a range of matters.
New measures for students
The University has a number of scholarships and bursaries for which students can apply, including funds to support care-leavers, estranged students, students from low-income families and many more. However, due to the challenges arising as a result of the cost of living crisis, we have implemented the new measures below and are working at pace on others to be announced soon.
- Increasing the Jay Blades Thrive Bursary (formerly the Student Success Bursary) by £170,000, so more students from low income families, from areas with high levels of deprivation, or areas where very few students go to university can access support for their studies and living costs.
- Doubling our Financial Aid Fund (formerly BNU Hardship Fund) to £180,000, effective from 14 November, which will include quicker and easier access to emergency payments that do not need to be repaid for essential living costs such as food, travel and accommodation.
- Increasing all our bursary awards by 10% to account for inflation. Students who have already received their bursary for this academic year will receive a backdated payment in November to reflect this rise.
- Increasing the BNU Learning Resource Fund (formerly BNU Future Success Fund) award by 25% from £120 to £150 per student so students have more to spend on learning resources.
We will continue to review these measures to ensure we’re doing all we can to support our BNU community as this crisis continues.
Professor Nick Braisby