KU students struggle to manage their money during Freshers’ week, with some spending nearly £1000 on partying alone, leaving them battling to make ends meet for the rest of the semester.
Nationally, over half of university students spend their entire student loan before the end of term, with one in ten spending it within the first two week, according to joint research by the University of Sheffield and comparethemarket.com.
Although this might conjure up images of first year students splashing their new found wealth left right and centre, even third year KU students admit they still find it difficult to manage their money during Freshers’ week.
George Adams, 22, a third year geology student from Surbiton, spent £800 in the first week of returning to university after a “boring summer back home”. This is eight times the government estimated £104 a week for living costs, which does not include rent.
“I spent over £800 in a week on food, travelling around central London and going on nights out, eating out and just doing what I wanted. I knew I was spending a lot of money but I didn’t know exactly how much.”
He said that he did see his loan as real money but added that it was at his discretion at how it was spent and that he was responsible with his money as he still could pay bills and rent.
“I don’t regret spending the money because I spent a lot of time doing obligatory third year work over summer and spent lots of time working and that was basically the best week of the whole summer. I did loads of stuff and made loads of memories.
“I think some freshers would be pretty intimidated by the whole way that student finance works at being given such a large amount of money so they probably wouldn’t spend that amount but other people used to having that money might go a bit wild and spend all of it.”
According to savethestudent.org cash strapped students spend most of their money on rent, food and socialising.
Isabelle Barnes, 21, a third year fashion student from Norbiton, spent £600 during Freshers’ week, mainly on going out with her friends to Kingston clubs.
“I like to have a good time but I don’t do this all the time. Because of the work load of my course I don’t really get an opportunity to go out as much as I’d like to which is why I probably spunked it all on rubbish in the last week. I’ve had to pick up another job. My loan doesn’t even cover my rent in the first place so I really shouldn’t have indulged myself that much last week.”
She admitted that she definitely could have put the money towards something more useful.
With third years commencing their most stressful year yet, a lot of students probably find they can forget about their work load woes on nights out, leaving their bank accounts in a sorry state.
Isabelle said: “When I was a fresher I wasn’t really interested in the Freshers’ events. I’ve seen a lot of third years at these events which are supposed to be for Freshers and I think that it’s because it’s our last opportunity to be a part of it.”
With London rentals being notoriously expensive, Kingston University students ought to be more careful with their money, but when student loans do not even cover their rent leaving them penniless for the semester, who can blame them?
Student properties in Kingston advertised on rightmove.com range from £100 per person a week for a mediocre flat all the way up to £350 per person per week for a brand new studio apartment in managed halls, such as those on Penrhyn road.
Human rights student, Dan Lloyd, 22, of Surbiton, said: “I blew through a few hundred quid in the last week. I’ll probably keep doing it until I run out of money and my problems catch up with me.
“My parents already know and they are probably more disappointed than they let on. What can you do? I can’t change the decisions I make. I do regret spending it because it is coming back to diddle me, however I don’t regret it because I’ve had a lot of fun times.
He added that Freshers’ week was always the most expensive time of the year for students.
“I do know better as I’m nowhere near as bad as I have been in the past, so I am learning. I did it a lot worse in first and second year, and I had a credit card then as well.”
Think spending so much money during Freshers’ week is bad? It is not just KU students splurging. Check out these students from other universities who spent their loan on something they probably should not have:
- A Lincoln university student spent £780 turned his backyard into a beer garden as he was “fed up with the typical house parties and wanted something unique.”
- A Disney-obsessed Sunderland student spent all her loan (and £22,000) on Disney toys, holidays and clothes.
- An aspiring model of the university of Essex spent £10,000 of her student loan on plastic surgery – liposuction and breast implants to be exact.
Are you responsible with your money at university or do you end up spending far more than you can actually afford? Did you end up spending your entire loan in the first week of university or know someone who did?