University costs ‘could result in increased debt help requirement’

The financial burden of going to university could result in many graduates requiring debt help when they finish their studies, new research has found….

The financial burden of going to university could result in many graduates requiring debt help when they finish their studies, new research has found.

According to the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) annual survey, the average student is expected to leave higher education in 2011 having amassed £21,198 of debt.

The investigation found younger people are more realistic in regards to the problem than their parents, as 34 per cent of pupils predict they will accrue in excess of £20,000 of debt, compared to just 19 per cent of their mothers and fathers.

Nearly half – 49 per cent – of university-goers estimated it will take them more than ten years to pay off all the money they owe, while 8 per cent stated they believe they could be in arrears for over 20 years.

The effects of the recession has meant 55 per cent of students are concerned they will not be able to find employment once their classes culminate and 32 per cent claimed they would take a higher paid job offer rather than pursue their vocational choice in an effort to settle their debts.

Moreover, 25 per cent of the parents questioned said they would provide the bulk of their child’s learning fees, but 82 per cent admitted the recent economic downturn has increased the financial strain of university costs.

Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director at AIC, commented: “It is worrying that so many students and their parents are still underestimating the true cost of going to university.”

A recent study conducted by R3 revealed individuals in the 18 to 24 age bracket could be the most affected by debt troubles, as a quarter of them cannot face up to opening their bills.

By Joe Shervin

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