Student Money Survey 2013 – Results

Towards the end of each academic year we stop talking and really listen to find out how current university students feel about their financial situation.National student money surveyFor our National Student Money Survey 2013, 2,332 students shared their experiences and opinions with us (admittedly we did lure them in with free Nando’s).

This visual report documents our key findings.

How concerned are students when it comes to money?

Students worried about money

80% of students surveyed said that money worries are on their mind throughout university.

The impact of this on broader student welfare is clear, with over one-half claiming that worrying about money affects their course studies and close to one-third believing it affects their diet.

Student comments:

- My student loan does not even cover my rent

- Students are given a lot of money in loans, but rent and living costs are simply too much

- There are days I had to starve myself so that I have enough food for the week

How do students feel about their student loans?

Students worried about student finance (stats)

With the recent increase in tuition fees up to £9,000 per year, it’s of little surprise that the general student perception of the finance system is changing.

This year a staggering 60% of students surveyed said that they were worried about repaying their student loan, with more than one half admitting they don’t actually understand the repayment conditions. This demonstrates a severe case of confusion and lack of finance education (if you’re in the 55% you can find out everything you need to know here).

Beyond the loan, a significant majority of students are worried about what’s in store for them once they graduate. The sample statements below highlight the most popular sources of worry.

Student comments:

- I worry about getting a job when I graduate that can support me financially

- I basically worry about the cost of living

- I’m so confused about the [loan] repayments that it worries me most weeks

How do students spend their money?

Last year we published the results of our first major survey on monthly student spending (source), and whilst many of the spending categories remain stable, there have also been some notable changes.

What do students spend money on? [stats]

This year it appears as though the average monthly rent for students has skyrocketed with spending on socialising falling to compensate somewhat.

The spend each month on “luxury” items such as clothes has also taken a hit.

Some might suggest that students are becoming increasingly sensitive to their spending, perhaps due to a higher awareness of ‘student debt’ since the fee increase.

How do students earn money?

From the results above, we can see that the average student in 2013 spends £763 a month. When you consider that the average maintenance loan (for a student living outside of London) only covers £458 of living costs each month, it naturally makes you wonder where students are finding the extra £305 income to supplement their spending.

Of course part-time jobs are typically the first port of call, but whilst this is the case for 2-in-3 students, a job is currently only a source of income for less than half of students.

student part-time jobs (stats)

Holding down a job to pay the bills during term time could have an adverse affect on academic results, but it’s clear that for the majority of students this source of extra money is important.

Student comments:

- Having to work is having an impact on my studies and even getting in the way of my relationship

- I find it’s practically impossible to be able to handle a job as well as the workload I have on my course for me to be able to get a good grade – I’m suffering as a result

Here at Save the Student we have also found an upward trend in students looking for alternative ways to make money, with over half saying that they have looked beyond the traditional part-time job in order to ease their money worries (our ‘ways to make money‘ guide consistently ranks as our most viewed content).

Some of the more popular ways of making money include online surveys, cash-in-hand jobs and selling unwanted clothes.

Student gambling stat

The most worrying statistics that we revealed are that 20% of students have admitted to gambling as a way to make money (as opposed to for fun) and 1 in 4 would consider selling their body for medical trials or in the adult entertainment industry.

Where do students turn for money in an emergency?

With more and more students struggling to keep up with rent and the growing costs of living,  it’s important to think about to who or where they turn to in a financial emergency. Here are our findings:

Emergency money sources for students (stats)

It seems that in a time in their life when students are looking to become more financially independent, the majority still depend on their parents for financial support. However, one-third of those surveyed also feel that they do not receive enough help from their parents.

We were also alarmed to discover that students would rather turn to their bank or rely on a credit card than contact their university for help.

Most worrying for us is that 2% of the students surveyed actually said they would contact a ‘payday loan’ (PDL) company. In fact just this week we received an email from an apparently desperate student asking us which PDL company would be best, even though they acknowledged themselves it was a bad move! Needless to say, we advised them of the alternatives.

Student comments:

- My parents do not give me any financial support, however I would not expect them to

- I’ve had to borrow money from my parents to survive

Is university worth it?

After asking all of the above and more we wanted to gather an idea of whether students felt that university was actually even worth the financial costs and difficulties in gaining a degree.

Is university worth it?

As you can see, the majority (though by a small margin) feel as though their degree is good value, with just over 40% having the opposite opinion.

Student comments:

- Student life is the best time however doesn’t come without the stresses

- Some students I know have dropped out of their course due to monetary worries

- It’s not just students that have to worry about money, it’s society in general


View this as an Infographic


Let us know your thoughts on this year’s findings in the comments below!

For a complete guide to budgeting and student finance, download our free “Essential Student Guide to Finance” eBook.

We’d be happy to offer further comment and/or information on request – please contact us.

Sources:

  • Survey statistics taken from the Save the Student National Student Money survey 2013. Conducted online. Sample size was 2,332 university students in the UK between 16-27th May 2013
  • 2012 statistics taken from the same survey conducted last year (source). Conducted online. Sample size was 2,332 university students in the UK between 16-27th May 2013

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