Student-debt.org.uk found that debt was the primary motivator behind half of university drop-outs, while the average graduate now carries a debt of nearly Â£15,000.
A spokesman from student-debt.org.uk said: “The financial pressures associated with a course of higher education should not be underestimated.
“These results show that university is as much about hard work outside the classroom as within it. The majority of students do budget, but if they are to emerge from university financially stable, it is increasingly vital that they are well educated about how to manage their money,” they added.
In addition, a third of students that did make it to graduation claim to have a debt problem, while nearly three in five are earning less than they expected, suggesting a debt consolidation loan could be useful.
Despite taking on jobs and help from parents, many students are struggling to finance their studies.
Nearly half now work more than 16 hours a week during term time, with more than four in five working over the summer vacation, according to the student-debt.org survey.