Graduate debts jump by third in a year

April 19, 1996

Graduate debt has jumped by nearly a third in one year with former students owing an average of Pounds 3,000, according to the latest Barclays Bank survey.

The bank found that graduates, surveyed in December last year, owed an average of Pounds 2,930 six months after leaving university. This is 31 per cent higher than the 1994 average graduate debt of Pounds 2,236 and is in line with the Government's policy of switching from grants to loans.

It found that although the average graduate salary had increased to Pounds 12,248, some Pounds 600 less than the average national wage, 78 per cent of last year's graduates were in debt to the Student Loans Company, banks, building societies, parents and credit cards.

Just over half of the 961 graduates surveyed owed more than students in their final year. They owed an average of Pounds 1,883 and the survey found that the increase in debt between final year and six months after leaving was due to their buying clothes for work or a car.

Graduates who had found full-time employment in their chosen careers had larger debts on average than those still unemployed. Barclays says that this was because working graduates felt more confident about taking out additional loans.

Men tended to have larger debts than women - owing an average of Pounds 3,476 compared to the average female debt of Pounds 2,414 - which the bank suggests may have been because more men were in higher paid full-time employment and so more willing and better able to borrow.

Graduates from the southwest had the highest average level of debt at Pounds 3,280 (compared to Pounds 2,736 in 1994), while those from the north of England had the least amount of average debt at Pounds 2,586 (Pounds 2,633 in 1994).

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