UK: BBC- University: ‘Dealing drugs was only way I could afford degree’

A university student says he felt forced to break the law to earn enough money to afford his degree.

Working multiple jobs alongside his course at Swansea University, Tyler realised he couldn’t get the degree he wanted unless something changed.

With no family support, the 24-year-old says he thinks more support should be given to those from poorer backgrounds wanting to go to university.

A Swansea University spokesperson said students have access to financial aide.

With both parents in prison, Tyler, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, and his younger brother were cared for by their grandparents to ensure they were kept together.

However, this relationship grew sour as the boys grew older.

“I made a mental decision when I was like 16 that the only way that I can actually be myself and be my own person is to go to university. So that’s what I did,” said Tyler.

He found it difficult to juggle his course while working enough hours to afford his rent and food costs.

In his first summer at university, Tyler returned to his grandparents’ home but after an argument about money for a train ticket, he was cut off.

“I was told if you leave the house, don’t ever come back. So that’s what happened. I left the house at 18,” he explained.

“It was literally the worst night of my life. I’ve never felt so mentally, physically tired from a day’s events.”

He returned to university as an “independent student” and applied for support.

Students are classified as independent for multiple reasons, including if they are permanently cut off from their parents.

This means they don’t have financial or emotional support.

Those in the care system receive more support than those who are independent, said Becca Bland, chief executive and founder of the charity, Stand Alone, which offers support services to prevent estranged adults becoming vulnerable.

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