The thinking behind the Reading List Foundation is rooted in research among undergraduates from lower income households. Without the ability to rely on the ‘bank of Mum and Dad’ for significant financial support, life as a student can involve the constant presence of financial pressures. 79% of students from lower income households in England have had to cut back on essentials because of financial pressures. In this context a student can often be faced with buying the textbooks they can afford rather than the ones they need for the course.
The impact is also emotional as well as financial – our research showed nearly half are affected by worries about financial pressures.
Facing such pressures while accumulating loans of upwards of £44,000 seemed a stark contrast to the financial support enjoyed by the many generations of graduates who had their university education funded by society as a whole (and we count ourselves among these lucky graduates).