Student Need

Student need in the wake of the pandemic

The pandemic’s profound and rapid impact on the lives of our students has meant that those from disadvantaged backgrounds are being hardest hit and many more students are being pushed into hardship. The loss of part-time jobs, growing digital divide, sharp rise in demand for mental health support and growing concerns over future employment have resulted in many of our students finding themselves overwhelmed by COVID’s impact on their futures. Through the Common Good Campaign, the GCU Foundation is raising funds to address the following areas of urgent student need to help alleviate the added pressures they now face and allow talented young people to focus on reaching their full potential.

Financial Hardship
COVID-19’s effect on student employment, particularly in hospitality and retail, means that there has been a sharp rise in demand for financial aid. More than half of final year students in the UK have lost jobs or internships during the pandemic (Prospects, May 2020) and a recent NUS survey revealed that 60% of students have had an impact on their income with 20% falling into rent arrears.  Not all students are fortunate to have family support and the loss of income can have a devastating effect on their ability to continue their studies. Scholarships and bursaries act as a lifeline to these students ensuring that they are able to study without the burden of financial worry.

Mental Health and Wellbeing
The number of undergraduate students in Scotland declaring a mental health condition has trebled in the last five years (SAMH 2020) and this troubling statistic comes into even sharper focus as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Financial worries have heightened these problems, along with feelings of isolation, anxiety and disengagement as students try to adapt to the ‘new normal’. We want to help those who are suffering mental health difficulties, respond to growing demand and ensure that students have timely access to support when they need it.

Employability
New graduates are facing the toughest employment market on record. With almost 40% worried they won’t get a job of any form, students desperately need additional support to gain industry experience and guidance to get a foot on the career ladder. Through GCU’s MINT Programme (Mentoring, Internships, Networking and Talks) we are mobilising alumni and friends to help boost student employability.