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Students seeking debt support services increase by 39%

Cost-of-Living crisis hits university students as calls for debt and housing support surge

  • Calls to Endsleigh’s Student Assistance Programme, in partnership with Health Assured, has seen students seeking debt support increase by 39 per cent
  • Calls related to housing were up 46 per cent as the student housing crisis shows no sign of slowing down
  • 70% increase in calls from students seeking support for depression and 55% increase in anxiety-related calls
  • Almost half of undergraduates say they will need to take on additional debts to stay afloat as costs rise

Calls from students seeking financial support have soared by 39 per cent since the start of the cost-of-living crisis, figures released today reveal*.

The new data published by Endsleigh Insurance and Health Assured highlights the devastating impact that surging inflation and energy bills are having on university students’ financial and mental wellbeing.

Issues relating to debt and housing are a growing concern for students

In addition to debt management, calls around housing have increased at a steep rate, up 46 per cent since last year. These trends chime with findings from Endsleigh’s recent Student Happiness Index* report, which found that almost half of undergraduate students will take out additional credit cards or overdrafts to stay afloat, in addition to the average loan debt of £45,800** they accumulate while at university.

Rising prices are also deterring students from London universities. Two fifths (39 per cent) of the undergraduates surveyed for the Student Happiness Index report said they would now pick a university outside of the capital and 14 per cent are considering moving closer to home to save money. 

Top calls to the helpline were from students seeking mental health support

Financial challenges are also taking their toll on students’ mental health. Three in ten (30 per cent) students say their mental health had deteriorated in the past year; as calls relating to depression rise by 70% and support for anxiety has increased by 55% in the past year.

Oscar Palomino, second year undergraduate student, said:

“In my first year of studies, I had amounted £2,500 worth of debt, maxing the overdraft on my student accounts to cover the costs of expensive first year halls accommodation, as my student loan was £3,500 short of the cost.

“Just two months into the new term this year, I am already struggling incredibly to make ends meet. My student loan only just covers rent repayments which means I need to find a new way to pay for bills, food, educational materials and all the extras needed to get through university.

For the past month, I have been looking for jobs in Nottingham to help pay the bills and I’m now having to consider additional overdrafts and credit card debts to ease the financial burden of university life.”

Amber Payne, final year undergraduate student, said:

“Student loans are not rising in line with inflation, we have received no additional support from the government and we can’t afford to live. Students are being forced to skip hours of lectures or seminars, and in some cases drop out, because they have to take on extra work to financially support themselves.

“The lack of affordable housing means some students have been forced to live in hotels and many are skipping meals because they can’t afford to eat. All of this has had a huge knock-on effect on mental health, which is a huge cause for concern.”

Alison Meckiffe, CEO, Endsleigh Insurance, said:

“This new data highlights the severity of students financial concerns. The impact of the cost-of-living crisis is pushing more students into debt and many struggling to make ends meet. 

“For those that are concerned about their finances, Endsleigh’s Student Assistance Programme provides advice for undergraduates and postgraduates who may find themselves in a situation of financial hardship. For any students needing specialist support to help with mental health we also provide 24-hour support and offer counselling on many issues faced by students.”

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