The number of students applying for UJS Hillel’s scholarship fund has increased by 30 per cent in the past year.
Chief executive Daniel Marcus revealed parents and students are applying for the grants at record rates as they struggle to meet the soaring costs of going to university.
The effect of the recession, coupled with the fiasco over delayed student loan cheques, has left some Jewish students fighting to fund their studies, accommodation and living costs.
Mr Marcus said: “We have helped students who would otherwise have had to give up their university career. The need is so dire.”
Although he could not reveal the number of people who had applied for assistance ahead of the new academic year, the figure is thought to be between 50 and 100 – far higher than in previous years. He added: “In cases where the student is living in Hillel we have worked with the local committee members to bring about a very meaningful reduction in price.
“But it is also financial assistance for living, not just for a student’s room fees. They may need the money for food.
“As people’s financial problems increase, Hillel is not just keeping the status quo, we are looking to increase the funding available. During this crisis Hillel has taken on even more relevance.”
Union of Jewish Students chairman Adam Pike said: “People are definitely struggling. Politicians are talking about raising tuition fees because of the economy and it’s something the entire student community is very worried about.”