The latest Student Living Index has found 42 per cent of students say they have to take on part-time employment to help them through university.
Studying for a degree would be too expensive without additional income from a job, according to those deciding to work.
The index found the figure had jumped 25,000 since 2007, with around 750,000 undergraduates fitting work around their studies from this autumn.
NatWest said the increase is about equal to the population of Oxford University.
Budgeting can help students stay debt free during university, according to comments made by the head of student banking at the company, Mark Worthington.
“Drawing up a budget can take ten minutes but will help you make the most of your money for the whole academic year,” he said.
“Students are increasingly aware of the wider economic climate,” he added.
Over 540,000 people have applied to start university this academic year, according to Ucas.