Rising tuition fees force students into sex work, says students' union
Published 14/12/2011 | 11:30
The National Union of Students in the UK has claimed more students are turning to jobs in the sex industry to pay for their education.
Some students are taking on "dangerous" work to cope with the cost of going to university, with fees up to €10,000 from next year, it was claimed.
The NUS said others were turning to gambling or taking part in medical experiments to earn money.
Estelle Hart, the NUS national women's officer, said: "Students are taking more dangerous measures.
"In an economic climate where there are very few jobs, where student support has been massively cut, people are taking more work in the informal economy, such as sex work.
"It's all dangerous unregulated work, simply so people can stay in education."
Government reforms have also meant the education maintenance allowance (EMA), which offered bursaries to 16 to 19-year-olds, has been scrapped.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "Under the current university funding system, no student has to pay in advance for tuition and there is a generous package of financial support to help with living costs in the form of loans and non-repayable grants.
"Our reforms will make the system even fairer, with more financial support and lower monthly repayments once you are in well-paid work."
A Department for Education spokesman said: "We are targeting £180 million (€214 m) a year financial support at the most vulnerable 16 to 19-year-olds to help them continue their studies – with transitional funding for the students who were getting the top rate of EMA and part-way through their studies.
"It is down to schools and colleges themselves to award bursaries to young people who need the most help.
"If students are really struggling financially, they need to speak directly to their tutors."