Inadequate student loans leave the average student short by £277 a month, a survey has revealed.
The National Student Money Survey, conducted by consumer site Save The Student, said that the average student spends £735 a month – but only receives £458 in student loans.
Responses to the survey indicated that over one in 10 students regularly dips into their overdraft to make up the shortfall, while three per cent use credit cards. One per cent of students have taken out a payday loan, notorious for their high interest rates, and the same number have also resorted to sex work in order to pay the bills.
All undergraduate UK students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the Student Loans Company, plus a basic living costs loan, with parents having to provide financial information if students wish to also have a grant. Grants are awarded on a sliding scale, dependent on income.
20 per cent of students rely on their parents to make up for any income shortfall, and given the nature of means-tested loans, the survey suggests that the government expects parents to contribute towards their children’s living costs. However, one in three students don’t believe their parents are doing enough to support them – with comments including “they base your student loans on your parents’ income but don’t consider that your parents don’t give you anything”, and “it’s next to impossible to stay out of debt unless you have parents who help you a lot”.
Although most universities have a dedicated hardship fund, students are more likely to turn to their bank, with 25 per cent saying that it would be their first point of contact if they found themselves in a financial emergency.
Surprisingly, just one in six students hold down a part-time job, traditionally seen as the easiest route for hard-up students to make money. Some students complained of the adverse effects of having a job however – one survey respondent said “having to work is having an impact on my studies and even on my relationship”.
The survey also produced statistics on the average cost of living for students outside of London. It revealed that students pay an average of £365 monthly on rent, and spend £105 on food. Bills are £58 while nightlife will set partying students back £64 a month.
Source: The Independent