Four in five students ‘constantly worry about money’

Four-fifths of students in the UK (80 per cent) are constantly worrying about money throughout their university life, according to a new study by Save…

Four-fifths of students in the UK (80 per cent) are constantly worrying about money throughout their university life, according to a new study by Save the Student.

The National Student Money Survey 2013 interviewed 2,332 people to find out their views on finances and revealed 55 per cent were seeing their studies affected as a result of money worries.

A further 64 per cent claimed their diet was also being affected, with few students able to afford proper food, instead opting for unhealthy alternatives, which are much cheaper.

Many students in the study said rent and living costs were too high and that their student loans were not covering them.

For this reason several are finding various ways to help finance their way through university. In 2013, the average student spends £763 a month and considering the average maintenance loan – for a student living outside of London – only covers £458 of living costs each month, it is not surprising many look for work to supplement their loan.

Students need to buy books, clothing and pay for travel expenses as well and part-time jobs were found to be the first port of call for two-thirds of respondents, although less than half find one and are therefore struggling for money.

The survey found an upward trend in students finding alternative ways to make ends meet, with over half saying that they have looked beyond the traditional part-time job in order to ease their money troubles.

Some of the more popular ways of making money include selling unwanted clothes and items, completing paid online surveys and small cash-in-hand jobs.

However, one of the most worrying findings is that many students are turning to gambling in order to make money.

A staggering 20 per cent of respondents admitted to gambling as a way of making money – as opposed to doing it for fun – and a quarter even said they would consider putting themselves through medical trials to get by.

Naturally, students go through their fair share of financial emergencies and the study found when they do occur the majority (51 per cent) turn to their parents for financial assistance. However, while 17 per cent and eight per cent go to their bank or university for help respectively, one in ten are falling into credit card debt by using plastic to get themselves out of tricky situations.

Payday loans are also being used by struggling students, with two per cent admitting to taking one out to help with their finances.

Those in university are particularly vulnerable when taking out a payday loan, especially when they are not working. It may become more difficult as the weeks roll on for them to keep up with payments and this will only add to the large amount of debt they are already burdened with.

Despite all this, almost three-fifths of respondents (59 per cent) said university was definitely worth attending.

Sadly however, there was anecdotal evidence that some students had dropped out of university as a result of financial difficulties. 

By Amy White

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