Worried about making ends meet? So are 80% of university students. From budgeting and banking, to jobs and the value of an education, we’ve got a few stats that might make your wallet shudder. In a survey by Save the Student, money worries affect how (or whether!) students eat, and can even knock their grades, with some having to balance studying against paying rent and other costs.
A student polled in the survey said “I budget for £20 a week on food because otherwise I would not have had enough savings to buy my food for the whole uni year. This tends to mean that I don’t have enough money to buy a full weeks’ worth of food and have to only have four to five meals a week.” One in four students surveyed said they’d never budgeted in their lives. 70% of students have also stated that their maintenance loan is not enough. The average student spends £790 per month, but the average maintenance loan for a student living away from home and outside London is only £540 per month. In order to make up for the gap, surveys have found that students primarily obtain money from their student loans, followed closely by their parents and part-time jobs. 2 in 3 students look to their parents to help fund their time at university, with a similar number (63%) also taking up part-time jobs.
The average student spends £790 per month, but the average maintenance loan for a student living away from home and outside London is only £540 per month
Interestingly, the gap between the number of students relying on their parents for financial support and those turning to part-time jobs has shrunk since last year. Fewer students are asking their parents for cash, while a growing number rely on part-time work, which suggests students are attempting to be more financially independent. Despite this, one in three parents don’t give financial support. One student responded that they found it difficult to ask their parents for money, as the majority of the extra cash they would like to have would be spent on socialising and drinking.
Conversely, a large number of students have planned to save money for university. The average amount saved in a student account is £475 pounds, which is well below the national average of £1,000 pounds. There’s been a lot of confusion lately about the supposed increase in student loan interest rates by the government, as well as the privatisation of the loans, both of which were revealed to be myths. Most say their reason for entering these agreements blindly is that ‘everyone else does it’ and that ‘there are no alternatives’ to the student loan. Seven out of ten students say they worry about having to repay their loans, which itself comes with long-term and drastic consequences. One big factor behind all the confusion may be the lack of education available for the education young people get about loans and student finance – in fact, it’s clear most don’t get enough advice before or during university.
Fewer students are asking their parents for cash, while a growing number rely on part-time work
So is university worth the spend? Shockingly, over half of those surveyed say university is not good value for money, and one of the main reasons is the lack of job prospects after graduation. Moreover, 52% of those surveyed did not feel confident that they would find a job after graduation. But don’t let these bleak statistics get you down; next week we’ll bring you budgeting strategies and a guide to earning money alongside your studies. Hang in there!
You can find a link to the survey here: http://www.savethestudent.org/money/student-money-survey-2016.html