Which? University reveals student money strugglesA fifth of first-year students worried about affording university

12 February 2013

Four in 10 first-year university students are finding managing their money harder than expected - and almost a fifth are worried about being able to afford to stay at university, according to Which? research.

The survey by Which? University of 1,200 first-year undergraduates - the first intake under the new tuition fee system where universities can charge up to £9,000 a year in fees - found that some students are struggling with managing their living costs after just one term at university.

First-year student finance - in numbers

Our infographic sums up some of the key money stats first-year students shared with us:

   First year university student finances - infographic 

Student money worries

Thirty-seven percent of fresher year students didn't realise how high the cost of living was before starting university. A fifth have already gone into their student bank account overdraft, while 3% - equivalent to almost 13,000 students - had used a bank loan to help pay for some aspect of university such as bills. 50% of 18-year-old students receive financial help from their parents.

Just under one in five students - equivalent to nearly 72,000 students - revealed that they're worried about being able to afford to stay at university.

Which? University has independent information and advice on student finance, including where to find out about extra funding available and 10 things to remember to factor into a student budget.

University - worth the costs?

Encouragingly, 44% of students polled said they're finding lectures more interesting than expected – and more than half said they're enjoying their course more than they thought they would. However nearly four in 10 students didn't agree that the tuition fees they pay offer value for money.

21% found that the number of contact hours they receive is worse than they expected – and almost half have had to spend more than they had anticipated on extra materials for their course.

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