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Students gambling their loans to affordcost of living, survey suggests


Tens of thousands of students are usingtheir loans to gamble in a bid to top up their funds, with many ending up indebt to the tune of £5,000 or more, a new report suggests.


Students are increasingly turning to gambling as the student support providedby the government has failed to keep up with the rising costs of living, theNational Union of Students (NUS) says.


Findings from an NUS survey, shared exclusively with The Independent, revealthat around three in five (59 per cent) students have gambled in some way overthe past year and nearly half (48 per cent) did so to supplement theirincome.


One in eight (13 per cent) will bet more than they can afford to lose, thesurvey finds. And gambling has become more accessible to young people amid therise in technology, the NUS says.


Institutions must do more to raise awareness of the dangers of unsafe gamblingand to signpost to other support that is available, the NUS and GamblingCommission have warned.


Jason Heffron, a student at the University of Birmingham, used to turn togambling when money was tight. He said: “At vulnerable times I’d often end uplosing money that I couldn’t afford to lose.”

伯明翰大学的学生杰森·赫弗伦(Jason Heffron)在手头钱紧张时常常转去赌博。他说:“在经济困难时期,我经常会以失去无法承受的比例的金钱损失结束赌博。”

Eva Crossan Jory, NUS vice president for welfare, told The Independent:“Students have said the only way that they can pay rent is to gamble. That isreally worrying.


“I think anecdotally more students are relying on gambling as a means offinance rather than just doing it for fun. I think previously people were notdoing it as much as a means of survival.”


She added: “It is so easy nowadays to gamble on your phone and not even realisethat you may have a serious addiction. It doesn’t always seem like real moneywhen it is all online.”


“Online gambling is an issue that applies more widely than to simply thestudent population. It needs concerted intervention by government to act onrisks of online gambling and addictive behaviours.”


UUK called on the government to provide sufficient support to cover living andtuition costs for those most in need.


A Department for Education spokesperson said: “No student should have to facethis situation or experience any pressures or barriers to them accessing highereducation.


“Students from the lowest-income households who started their courses this yearhave access to the largest ever amounts of cash-in-hand support for theirliving costs.


“We have a world-class higher education system and following the introductionof our progressive student finance system there is a record rate of18-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds now going to university.


“As a government, we are backing the University Mental Health Charter, led byStudent Minds, to encourage vulnerable students to seek out support when theyneed it.


“We are also carrying out a review of post-18 education and funding to look athow the system can work better for everyone, ensuring value for money forstudents and taxpayers.”