One in 50 have turned to loan sources with potentially exorbitant interest rates, the poll, conducted by the National Union of Students and commissioned by the accommodation firm Unite, says.
Students Matter: The Unite Student Experience Survey 2014 Summary Report, also found that six in ten university applicants did not know whether their funding package would meet their expenses while studying.
Eleven per cent of undergraduates used credit cards to pay for living costs, while another 28 per cent had to use an overdraft.
Meanwhile, nearly half had to rely on financial support from their families.
But 28 per cent have managed not to take on any debt at all.
Another “disappointing and stand-out finding” of the study of 3,654 students and applicants was the “relative lack of [social] integration felt by both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and how far this fell short of the expectations of applicants”.
Nearly three in 10 undergraduates said they did not feel well integrated into their university. For postgraduates, this proportion rose to 35 per cent.
“Students who don’t feel as integrated as they expected can quickly feel isolated if the issue persists. Overall student satisfaction may suffer and there could be an impact on retention,” the report says.