University hands out food parcels as testing times bite


A university is being forced to hand out food parcels to students who have run out of money.

Dozens of the survival packs have been distributed to undergraduates at Hull University with hardship cases rising due to parents losing their jobs or students getting stuck in debt after taking out high-interest loans.

The university’s advice centre says it has dealt with 2,300 hardship inquiries from students in the current academic year, compared with 1,500 in 2008-09. The university has handed out 70 parcels so far this year and is still getting requests for them.

The emergency rations – expected to last a week – are all made up of supermarket budget brands, and cost £4.82.

Rachel Kirkby, marketing and communications manager at Hull University Union, said: “We have been helping students who have been getting red letters through the door, trying to stop their credit ratings being ruined from the off.”

Earlier this year, pay-day loans company Wonga was accused of preying on vulnerable students after advertising itself as an alternative to government backed student loans. Wonga later withdrew the claim and denied actively targeting students.