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University students in £20bn debt

By River Reporter Mar 7, 2013

Students spend more than they make.

Jack Hammond

Cash-strapped students studying at British universities this year will owe £20bn in debts, according to a new report.

The YouGov Sixthsense report found that the majority of the debt was owed to the Student Finance Company with only 15 per cent of the total debt being owed to other organisations due to bank loans or loans from friends and family.

Still spending more

However, even with this amount of debt hanging over them, students are still spending more than they are earning. In 2012/13 students spent £21bn collectively when they were only earning £20bn.

YouGov SixthSense research director, James McCoy said: “Our research shows that despite students getting financial help from the Government, their parents, and taking part-time jobs to support themselves, most are still spending more than they are taking in.”

“Loan just about covers rent”

The report was based on a survey of 1,000 students and showed that on average a student owes £940 to financial companies like banks and £470 to family and other relatives,  plus their Student Finance debts.

James McFarlane, a third-year KU biology student, said: “Most students rely on a combination of student loans, hand outs from parents and relatives, a wage from part-time work and if you’re lucky a grant.

“My student loan just about covers rent, but there are still bills to pay as well as nights out. I don’t know how I would be able to afford it if I didn’t have a part-time job.”

Attending university is essential

The number of students choosing to go to university and how much they owe is set to be affected because of the rise in tuition fees, with some courses costing £9,000.

While 81 per cent of British students agree that attending university is essential for the career that they want to pursue, over a quarter of students feel that a university qualification is not worth the cost of paying the new, much higher tuition fees.

Mr McCoy said: “There is a real threat that more young people will opt to skip university altogether.”

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