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You are here: Opinion & Analysis » Court Life Mentoring: Scrap it and give cash direct to students in need
Published 8th Mar 2012
A Freedom of Information request response shows that for last year, Court Life Mentoring cost over a quarter of a million pounds – the request shows that for the year 2010/11 the cost of the scheme was £258,393.97. The response also showed 4,822 students lived in Courts in 2010/11, giving an effective cost of £53.58 a year per student.
Given the choice, would you pay £50 a year for that weekly knock on the door? I’ll take an educated guess and say, for most, the answer would be no. I’d also hazard another guess and say most students wouldn’t choose to hand over a fiver for it. It’s not worth the cash, so it should be scrapped. Instead, we should give the cash direct to students through financial assistance schemes like the hardship fund and bursaries: students could get more money according to need, there would be more money students could access without taking time away from study, and we could help those suffering most from rising living costs.
The counter-arguments that satisfaction with mentoring is high and that mentors make a difference to some are just not good enough. Satisfaction rates, one mentor tells me, are as high as 96%. This is meaningless; students are not going to complain about something this parochial when they don’t have to personally hand over cash for it. Satisfaction here means mass indifference, which is not a measure of success.
On the second point, I do not doubt mentors help some. If you ask everybody on campus how they are doing on a weekly basis you are going to find somebody to provide a listening ear to. Helpful though this is, the benefit most students receive makes the price tag unjustifiable; we can deliver more welfare with the same money.
Let’s scrap Mentoring, and give cash direct to those in need to address the growing problem of declining living standards.