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Students Question the Value of Their Degrees

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Majority of UK’s university students do not feel they have sufficient money to live on, whilst two fifths think their degree represents poor value for money

The majority of university students in the UK do not feel as though they have sufficient money to live on while studying, new research from KnowYourMoney.co.uk has revealed.

The financial comparison website has commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 people who are currently doing an undergraduate degree at a UK university. It found 54% believe the amount of money they have to live on at university is insufficient.

Furthermore, 42% do not believe their undergraduate course represents good value for money.

Universities in the UK can charge students up to £9,250 each year in tuition fees. Meanwhile, it is estimated a university student spends £807 a month on their living costs.

KnowYourMoney’s study showed 62% of students carefully considered the financial costs of going to university before enrolling, with 47% saying the outlay had an impact on the university they picked and 25% stating it influenced the course they chose.

Before going to university, 40% of respondents said they had never budgeted before in their life. In fact, 26% said they still do not budget now they are at university – men (31%) were more likely to be guilty of this than women (24%).

Elsewhere, KnowYourMoney.co.uk’s research revealed 86% of university-goers have a student loan, while 30% have been gifted money from family members to go to university. Three in ten (31%) also said they work a part-time job around their degree.

Of those with a student loan, 62% worry about its long-term impact on their personal finances. What’s more, half (49%) do not understand exactly how much they will need to repay, with 36% not knowing when the repayments will begin.

John Ellmore, director of KnowYourMoney.co.uk, said:

“Attending university in the UK is an extremely expensive undertaking – the total costs can reach tens of thousands of pounds. While the long-term benefits of receiving a degree mean these costs should not necessarily act as a deterrent, students must nevertheless remain financially astute.

“Budgeting is essential. Our new research shows the majority of students feel they don’t have enough money to live on, but through careful planning of how they are spending their money, undergraduates can ensure they have a firm handle on the funds they have to work with. Importantly, they must avoid any poor or rash financial decisions, such as accruing unnecessary debt.

“This is particularly true for those with student loans. With the survey showing many are confused about how and when they will have to repay their loans, it is important they seek out advice and information on the matter so they can manage their personal finances carefully.”

About the research: The market research was carried among a sample of 1,002 UK-based university students. All are full-time undergraduate students. The survey took place in August 2019. The research was commissioned by KnowYourMoney.co.uk through independent market research agency Censuswide. Censuswide abides by and employ members of the Market Research Society. All survey panellists are double opted in (with an opt-in and validation process) in line with MRS and ESOMAR standards.

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