Our Cost of Living Campaign has Launched!

SU Priority. Cost of living campaign. Image of a calculator with text beside it saying "SU Priority. Cost of living campaign."

The Cost of Living Crisis is one of the biggest issues affecting the student body this year and we know it is already a huge worry for so many. Food prices are soaring but maintenance loans remain stagnant.  Energy bills for students renting privately have reached an all time high, but the Cambridge Bursary hasn’t increased since 2017. Postgraduates who engage in supervision work are still paid less than the living wage but rent costs are rising exponentially. Cambridge is already understood to be the UK’s most Unequal City, our local and student communities will be feeling this now more than ever. 

The University of Cambridge is the wealthiest university in Europe. It must take action now to alleviate the effects of the Cost of Living Crisis on students, who already pay extortionate rents, College bills and other hidden costs to make it even richer. The University’s endowment totals over £7 billion, this money is supposed to safeguard the future of the University and its charitable mission in the event of emergency; with inflation at its highest since 1981, this is that emergency. If significant, material, financial support is not provided for students and our wider community, we will see inequality in Cambridge soar even higher and face a record number of students unable to attend/continue their studies despite their hard work. 


For the academic 2022-3 academic year, we demand that:

  1. All Research funding bodies increase PhD stipends by 10%, and that the University allocates more funding specifically for Masters students

  2. The University increase the Cambridge Bursary in line with inflation.

  3. The University introduce a special hardship fund to address the Cost of Living Crisis.

  4. The University and Colleges centralise and standardise the process of applying for hardship funding.

  5. All Colleges commit to a three-year rent freeze that applies to all year groups, including incoming freshers. 


We believe that this set of demands reflects the extremely difficult conditions Cambridge students will find themselves facing this academic year, but we know that postgraduate and undergraduate students will be impacted differently and we urge the University and Colleges to reflect this in their responses. We are also concerned about intermitting students and thus these demands supplement the significant work the SU is currently undertaking to further support students on intermission this academic year. The Cost of Living Crisis is continuously evolving and we anticipate that these demands will adapt as the situation does. 

In order to support our students, we’ve already been working with the University to produce an accurate cost of living index for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. We have already conducted a survey that assesses the impact of the Crisis on postgraduate students, and we have just released a survey for undergraduates that we will use to develop the cost of living index, and to campaign for our demands across the Collegiate University. You can fill out the survey here.

Of course each College will be taking a different approach, and what matters to students will vary depending per College. Our demands were created to address universal issues across the entire university, but we will be providing support for any more specific demands or campaigns that J/MCRs want to focus on within their College. 

We understand that for many students, finding the money for necessary things like food, rent and social activities will be increasingly difficult. Please reach out to your College Tutor if you are experiencing financial difficulties, or the Student Advice Service for independent advice on where to access financial support.  


You might find it useful to look at some of the following resources:

  • If you are a private renter who is experiencing unfair rent hikes or financial mistreatment from your landlord, reach out to ACORN Cambridge, a tenant and Community Union. 

  • If you are a Postgraduate student who supervises, get involved with UCU’s Justice 4 College Supervisor’s campaign to push for better pay and contracts. 

  • If you are facing specific economic disadvantages, such as being from a low income or working class family, are Care Experienced, or Estranged, you can reach out to the SU’s Class Act Campaign.

  • If you want to see what the wider student movement is doing,  you can read about the NUS’s campaign to tackle the Cost of Living Crisis.

  • If you are facing financial difficulties and would like to explore your options, you can contact your College Tutor or the SU’s Student Advice Service who also have finance related resources on our website. 


Across the city, lots of people will be struggling with the Cost of Living Crisis. There are lots of ways to get involved in volunteering or mutual aid efforts in the city, which can be a great way to meet people and help out in the community. Check out Community Farm, the Cambridge Community Kitchen or local homelessness shelters such as Jimmy’s and Wintercomfort.

We know that these are difficult times for everyone, and we believe that the University and Colleges should be taking action to alleviate the stress on students. The bullet points above highlight where you can go for personal support, and you can also get involved in our campaign work by talking to your J/MCRs, coming to Council and contacting sabbs. The SU Lounge is open to all students 9-5 on weekdays; a place you can exist for free without having to do work or socialise. There is a microwave to heat up any food you make at home and vending machines with cheap snacks, the lounge also has heating and air conditioning. We are here to listen and support you, and hope to see you soon.


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