University of Warwick Responds to the Cost-of-Living Crisis - Business in the Community

University of Warwick Responds to the Cost-of-Living Crisis

How the University of Warwick helped deliver a cost-of-living support package to students from low-income families.

About the company

The University of Warwick, founded in 1965, is a public research university with an acknowledged reputation for its links with business and industry. The University has nearly 30,000 full-time students and is a National Living Wage employer.

The issue

The cost-of-living crisis is exacerbating existing social and environmental issues. The financial resilience of households and businesses is already low following the COVID-19 pandemic1. This is compounded by deeper structural challenges around high housing costs 2, low productivity3, a widening skills gap4,4a and increasing childcare costs5. Food banks are experiencing unprecedented demand and are becoming difficult to maintain due to staffing shortages and a vast cash flow deficit6,6a.

What the company did

The University of Warwick created a £3.5 million cost-of-living support package which delivered help to thousands of students from low-income families, one-off payments to staff and an open invite for the local community to make use of the facilities on campus this winter. The new funding took the overall financial support available to Warwick students through grants, scholarships, and funds to more than £45 million for 2022/23. The additional funds were paid through existing bursary schemes, targeted at those who are lower income, meaning students received the money automatically without having to apply for it.

Student support

One in ten students (3,233) currently receives a bursary from University of Warwick, with annual allowances tiered, depending on household incomes, up to a maximum of £35,333. From December 2022, these students benefited from a 13% increase in payments. Undergraduate home students from households with an income of less than £16,333 saw their payment for 2022/23 rise to £2,233 due to the new funding. Warwick has also increased support for postgraduate research students receiving the minimum stipend with a 13% rise in their allowance, reflecting the increased inflation rate. This was in addition to a 3% increase which had already been approved.

Community support

The University of Warwick hosted a Cost-of-Living Summit on 25 November 2022 in partnership with Warwickshire County Council. The summit looked at:

  1. The information the data provided.
  2. Current status and future projections.
  3. The sharing and development of a joint approach to supporting residents and communities with cost-of-living pressures, agreeing on a simple, combined offer of support.
  4. The identification of specific joint actions to amplify collective impact and avoid duplication.

What you can do

Implement Business in the Community’s Cost-of-Living Action Plan for Businesses, for a leading response to support those disproportionately impacted by the crisis.


  1. FCA Financial Lives
  2. ONS People, Population and Community
  3. ONS Employment and Labour Market
  4. UK Government Publications 4a The Access Group
  5. The Guardian
  6. Trussell Trust 6a The Guardian
  7. Office for National Statistics (ONS) Census 2021