Student debt almost £1,500 even after state loans

University students owe an average of £1,409 of debt outside their state loans for tuition fees and living costs, a new study has found.

February 6, 2013

Based on a survey of 1,000 students by YouGov SixthSense, the report finds students owe an average of £940 to banks, building societies and financial companies, as well as £469 to family and friends.

The study, published on 6 February, says students had an average income of £6,951 in 2012-13, excluding tuition fee loans. However, they spend an average of £726 a year above this amount, it adds.

About half of the students (47 per cent) receive money from their parents, pocketing £64 per week on average.

Just under a third (31 per cent) of students did part-time paid work, with the average working student doing 11 hours of paid work a week and earning £91.53, the report says.

The report calculated that students studying at universities in Britain in 2012-13 collectively owed almost £20 billion, with the vast bulk of the debt being owed to the state-owned Student Loans Company.

Commercial debt or debt to friends and family made up around 15 per cent (£3 billion) of the total.

About a quarter (28 per cent) of students claim a university qualification is not worth the cost of paying the new, higher tuition fees, while 40 per cent thought it was, the report adds.

“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,” said James McCoy, research director at YouGov SixthSense.

“As a result, over a quarter of students say university is not worth the cost of the new, higher tuition fees.

“There is a very real threat that more young people will opt to skip university altogether.”

The YouGov SixthSense report also reveals that 72 per cent of students have a student loan and 40 per cent receive non-repayable maintenance grants.

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