Cambridge discourages student employment despite UK’s soaring cost of living

Student visa regulations restrict international students’ work hours to 20 hours per week. “When you’re an international student, you always have to be very careful with what you do.”

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A new report from the Sutton Trust in the United Kingdom has revealed that a significant number of college students in England are being forced to take up additional jobs or extra shifts to cover their cost of living expenses. 

The report indicated that almost one-third of students faced financial challenges that compelled them to find alternative sources of income.

However, renowned institution Cambridge University has taken a different approach and discourages its students from taking on employment while studying, effectively forcing some students to juggle both a job and their degree during the term. 

Some students expressed their frustration over the dual responsibility, with several accounts revealing that they feel compelled to keep their employment a secret amid the increasing cost of living expenses that they need to meet.

Lily, a first-year student, found it quite challenging to juggle her studies and work at a bakery, requiring her to work for 20 hours every week. Her weekends are typically consumed with work shifts, and she has to pick up additional weekday mornings when lectures don’t interfere. 

“This is quite difficult,” Lily told Varsity, recounting being “always tired” but needing to work in order to financially support her family.

Student visa regulations restrict international students’ work hours to 20 hours per week. “When you’re an international student, you always have to be very careful with what you do,” said Sarah as she works three jobs, hoping “they don’t find out.”

Students also highlighted the inconsistency in the university’s approach toward different types of commitments, with extracurricular activities like rowing, journalism, or theater being encouraged as fundamental components of student life despite often requiring more hours than a job would demand. 

The cost of living crisis in the UK has compounded the financial challenges faced by international students. One in five students at top universities now consider dropping out over cost of living, reported a recent Russell Group Students’ Unions study, with a quarter regularly going without food and a few other essentials. 

Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

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Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.