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“Scary” university living expenses cause more student debt stress than tuition fees

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As students across the UK receive their A level results, a number of them will start university this term, taking the big emotional step of a new independent life, with many living away from home for the first time.

But there are concerns around the rising number of students that are struggling to cope with life on campus, with more than three quarters (78%) of UK students experiencing significant stress at university, according to new research from Epson.

While the transition to a new lifestyle, exams, deadlines and tuition fees are the usual triggers, high living costs are equally troubling. Over 64% of university students admitting to getting stressed about their living expenses more than tuition fees, and as we approach the beginning of a new academic year, this stage of life can bring more pressures than we usually associate with it.

While some expenses are simple to cut out, it is the essentials, such as accommodation, food, transport and even printing, that blow a hole in students’ budgets. The research highlights the need for students to put the right resources in place to help manage their budget to ensure they are best prepared to handle what can be a stressful transition.  For example, over a third (40%) of students recommend buying a personal printer to avoid the high costs of printing from university library or print shops.

New Research from Epson EcoTank reveals that more than 78% of students experience stress. 

For most young people, attending university signifies the start of their independent life, filled with fun, friendship and broadening knowledge. However, most aspiring university students are not aware of the pressures that university life can bring. New research commissioned by Epson for its EcoTank printer range, shows that more than three quarters (78%) of UK students experience significant levels of stress at university. While the transition to a new lifestyle, exams, deadlines and tuition fees are the usual triggers, high living costs are equally troubling.

The research revealed that 64% of UK students worry more about living expenses than tuition fees and this figure rose to 69% among 18-19 year olds. For 54% of students the cost of living at university is ‘stressful’, 41% describe it as ‘worrying’ and 24% describe their living expenses as ‘scary’.

With 55% of university students getting stressed about making ends meet financially and 62% stating that the cost of living at university is higher than they envisaged, it is clear that students can easily find themselves in a situation where every penny counts.

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While some expenses are simple to cut out, it is the essentials, such as accommodation, food, transport and even printing, that blow a hole in their budgets. In fact, 64% of students agree that the cost of printing from their university library or print shops is very high.

Despite the unsettling outlook, there is a lot that parents and aspiring students can do to prepare themselves ahead of starting university. The top recommendations from current and former university students are having a realistic understanding of the costs of living and putting yourself forward for work experience to help secure a well-paid part time job alongside studying.

There are also some less obvious ways that students can make significant savings on their daily expenses, from getting the best deal for their mobile phone contract to swapping bus fares for a bike. Learning how to cook and shopping for groceries in the evenings when supermarkets price-down many items can make a substantial difference in a student’s budget, especially if combined with going vegetarian for a few days each week.

Some of the savvy ways to save money on life expenses in the long run include making wise choices and investing upfront. For example, students may pay for a fitness app to replace expensive subscriptions at big gym chains or buy their own coffee maker instead of spending money on daily visits to cafés and coffee shops. Similarly, over a third (40%) of students recommend buying a personal printer before starting university. 

In fact, three quarters (75%) of students who had a printer at the start of university agree that it helped them to save money when compared to printing at the library or in a print shop. 60% state that having a personal printer was a weight off their minds.

Annika Fagerstrom, head of consumer products at Epson UK says:

“We know how much stress students are under, but it is surprising to find out just how much they are concerned about covering their living expenses. It is important that they put the right resources in place and prepare ahead of their university life to ensure they handle what can be a stressful transition. Part of this will of course be learning how to manage budgets, but it can also include making wise investments that are cost-effective in the long run, such as getting a printer with a refillable ink tank. Our EcoTank range delivers a low-cost printing option and can also help students save time and money as the printers come with three years’ worth of ink, giving the user the freedom to print for much longer between refills.”

About Epson: Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.

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