Financial problems have pushed some university students into seriously considering dropping out of their degree course altogether, a major study into student finance and wellbeing has revealed.
Of the 39% of undergraduates who had considered dropping out of their university course, almost half cited financial problems as their main reason for doing so, the study by the National Union of Students (NUS) highlighted.
The survey of 14,404 students (in both higher and further education) found that financial anxieties affect students’ ability to concentrate on their studies, with half of undergraduate respondents reporting that they regularly worry about not having enough money to meet basic living expenses such as rent and utility bills.
On top of maintenance loans, 55% of undergraduates had an overdraft, while more than a quarter had taken on a loan from their family or friends. For those without financial support from family, the worry about paying rent and utility bills was significantly greater.
NUS also highlighted that while the number of students turning to higher-risk forms of borrowing such as payday loan or doorstep lenders was relatively low, they were three times more likely to come from areas where progression into higher education is typically lower than average.
Mature, NHS-supported and disabled students, student parents and adults in further education were the groups highlighted as being under particular pressure.
Coping with costs
While going to university certainly isn’t cheap, students can take steps to make their money go further:
- Getting into good habits: stick to a budget each term and shop thriftily to help stretch your student loan.
- Looking at part-time jobs: your university or students’ union may have flexible opportunities allowing you to balance work and study.
- Asking for help: if you’re struggling financially, see your university of SU’s student services team, who can advise on hardship funds and extra financial support you might be entitled to.