Impact of the cost-of-living crisis on prospective students’ application behaviours

The cost-of-living crisis has had a huge impact on students, with more than a quarter of students reporting that they have only £50 a month to live on after rent and bills (NUS 2022). This crisis has recently been identified as a risk to equality of opportunity in higher education by the Office for Students and there is a clear need to learn more about how finances are impacting prospects’ decision making.

Why join this project?

  • Inform your strategy and improve your approach to communicating and engaging with prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students during, and beyond, the cost-of-living crisis
  • Provide evidence to support your university’s widening access plans in regard to supporting student recruitment
  • Identify opportunities for new programmes or initiatives that could better support prospective students during this challenging time
  • Provide an evidence base to secure the necessary funding for new work/initiatives, and engage other university stakeholders in a joined-up approach

What will the project explore?

The survey and online community guide will be shaped in conjunction with the universities who choose to participate in this research project, based around the following crucial questions:


How does is work and what are the costs?

The strategic national collaborative insight costs £3,850 + VAT to participate in and includes:

  • Fresh, robust, quantitative evidence will be captured via a national online survey of 750 prospective UK undergraduates aged 16-18 and 250 prospective Master’s students.
  • A three-day online qualitative research community, recruiting 20 prospective undergraduates and 10 prospective Master’s students to share their thoughts, experiences and views in more depth
  • A smart, succinct, highly visual report with practical recommendation to help you engage with and support the recruitment of prospective students more effectively during and beyond the cost-of-living crisis.
  • We’ll bring together participating institutions in online events to shape the project and to discuss the findings and ideas for action

In addition to joining the national project, you can also choose to add on a bespoke option to tailor the research engagement even further to your own institution.

The project commences in March 2023 with an online workshop on 29th March and will complete by June 2023, so please get in touch now to arrange to talk if you’re interested to hear more.

For more information about how to join click here to email Sharon Steele, Marketing and Client Communities Director, at