Westminster tops debt league

August 23, 1996

Students could incur vastly higher levels of debt depending on the university they attended, according to a new survey.

Figures produced as part of the 1997 PUSH (formerly the Polytechnics and Universities Student Handbook) Guide to Which Universities, published last week, show that the average amount of annual student debt incurred at institutions in 1995-96 varied between Pounds 500 and Pounds 2,800. The survey shows that average annual debt was highest, at Pounds 2,800 per year of study, at the University of Westminster while students at the universities of Luton and Strathclyde incurred, on average, just Pounds 500 of debt in one year.

The average weighted mean debt was Pounds 1,485 which is almost the same as the 1994-95 average of Pounds 1,487 though 17 per cent higher than 1993-94's average of Pounds 1,0. All figures take student loans into account.

Johnny Rich, who compiled the guide jointly with Tim Footman, said that there were a number of complex factors at work. He said these included the facilities offered by universities, students' family background and the locations of institutions.

Mr Rich said: "For example an institution with lots of cheap accommodation may help reduce annual debt while lots of social facilities may have the opposite effect. However, the advice I would give to any prospective student is do not rule a place in or out because of any one or two factors but take all into account when choosing."

The PUSH figures were compiled after interviews with students at each of the institutions.

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