If you bring the ideas, we can bring the tools to make it happen! The new Ideas platform is a digital decision making platform for campaign ideas and union policy proposals.

Your Ideas

If you bring the ideas, we can bring the tools to make it happen! The new Ideas platform is a digital decision making platform for campaign ideas and union policy proposals.

Want to make change? Got an Idea?

We've got the tools to make it happen! The Ideas platform is the new interactive way to submit topics for discussion, propose policy, and suggest campaign ideas to improve student life here at Arts.

Idea submissions will be taken to the Student Forums and the Annual Members Meeting

Passed ideas (Arts SU Policy Book):

Passed ideas, either via the Ideas Platform (Your Ideas) or via one of our All-Student Meetings are referred to as SU Policy. This means that it is an objective we must focus on at the SU as mandated by our members (UAL students!). Ideas that are passed will be official SU policy for 3 years.

You can read the full list of previously passed ideas via our SU Policy Book!

Passed ideas policy book (Updated May 2024)

Your Ideas

Welcome to The Ideas! This is the way you can submit topics for discussion, policy, and campaign ideas to improve Arts. Idea submissions will be taken to the Student Forums and the Annual Members Meeting

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  • 21 score
    21 Students

    Petition for full-time students to be able to claim means-tested benefits

    Passed
    • Campaigns

    What is the current situation? (Background)

    Most full-time students are excluded from claiming means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Carers Allowance, and more, with very few exceptions. This means that students who are receiving those benefits usually lose them when entering full-time study, which is very often detrimental to them and their living situations. 

    For undergraduate students who may be eligible for some benefits, the majority of any Student Finance England Student Loan for Maintenance that they are entitled to is counted as part of their income, even if they choose not to take out the loan. This also applies to bursaries that are not related to their course costs.

    For postgraduate students, the Student Finance England Masters' Loan and Doctoral Loan are both treated as a contribution towards costs rather than a loan exclusively for tuition fees or living costs. 30% of the maximum Master's or Doctoral Loan is taken into account as income when assessing entitlement to means-tested benefits and this will reduce the amount payable. This is still used as income if they are eligible for a Postgraduate loan even if they choose not to take out the loan. 

    Students who are on these benefits are eligible for them before they study for good reason, and their becoming full-time students does not necessarily reflect an actual change in their circumstances  - for example, a student receiving Carer's Allowance due to caring for a family member could continue their caring duties throughout their studies with even less time due to studying to be able to earn an income and no benefit aiding them financially during their time at university.

    This means that becoming a full-time student is becoming less and less accessible for those on benefits, especially with the increasing cost of living. Those who are in circumstances that have led to them being on benefits should not be prevented from being able to financially access Higher Education by losing those benefits, especially when studying could aid in improving their prospects of leaving those circumstances after graduation.

    What will be the impact of your Idea? (Why)

    If full-time students were able to remain eligible for their benefits during their time at university, there would be more students able to afford full-time study, as part-time study means a delay in receiving their final awards and improving their job prospects for their futures. There would be the potential for an increase of students in those circumstances applying to study at university, as they would not be put off by worrying about the loss of potentially life-saving benefits. It would also reduce financial stress and worry for those who are affected by this.

    It would open more doors for people on means-tested benefits.

    What action could Arts SU take to develop your idea? (How)

    Arts SU can submit this for the NUS National Conference for the NUS to take forward to lobby the government for change to the means-tested benefits system and students.

    Arts SU can also lobby for change as an organisation.

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