UNIVERSITIES need to do more to monitor student homelessness, which is expected to rise due to the cost-of-living crisis, according to a report.

Students are less likely to suffer homelessness than the general population but experts warn that due to more people from disadvantaged backgrounds participating in further education, there could be a greater prevalence at universities amid the cost-of-living crisis.

A report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), says there is currently not enough data on student homelessness despite there being evidence of “hidden homelessness” among students who “sofa surf” for somewhere to stay.

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The National Union of Students in Scotland reported that 12% of students had experienced homelessness since commencing their studies, with that figure rising to one in three for estranged and care-experienced students.

The report from Hepi found universities should do more research into student homelessness, including recent graduates and former students among the 5.3% who drop out. The report also found they should do more to end all forms of homelessness, which tends to be more prevalent in university towns and cities.

It also reported those students found as either experiencing or at risk of homelessness should receive targeted support, including short-term financial aid or accommodation, especially outwith term time when they are at higher risk.

12% of students in Scotland have experienced homelessness, a report found

The Hepi report’s author, Greg Hurst, said: “Widening access to higher education means broadening the composition of a university’s student body and, therefore, admitting more students whose past experiences and circumstances mean they face a higher risk of homelessness.

“As we experience a surge in inflation to beyond 9%, this is likely to mean that from the autumn more students struggle to pay higher food and energy costs alongside their rent. Many universities could, and should, ask themselves if they are doing enough to prevent homelessness among their current and recent students.”