New research by price-comparison website Money Supermarket has revealed that almost a third of students in the North West have money worries on a daily basis.
The study into finances as part of university life was undertaken this July and include 700 students from across the UK.
While partying and irresponsible spending are stereotypes of university financing, the investigation attempted to determine and categorise the mean monthly spending of a student in the UK, and then compare this figure with student loan totals.
The breakdown found, on average, the monthly costs to be about £894.33. Included in calculating the costs were a range of expenses, from Accommodation to Home Entertainment.
Unsurprisingly, rent was found to account for over half of student’s monthly expenditure.
The average student loan was revealed as £2,094/term, and the calculation of termly expenses revealed a figure of £2,235.83, some £141.83 over the loan total.
As a result, 85% of students are relying on additional sources of Income to support them throughout their degree, with sources including parents.
The difficulty of balancing a student loan was summarised by a second-year student who wished to remain nameless, ”You have to learn how to manage money very quickly and some may struggle more than others.”
In addition, the survey confirmed that 48% of students use their bank account’s overdraft facilities on a regular basis.
The average value of such usage was identified at £548.
Money Supermarket spokesperson Sally Francis-Miles felt that student loans were not sufficiently designed to meet a student’s financial needs, “It’s not surprising that student loans don’t cover the cost of living for students. The Government takes into account that parents will support their child in addition.
“Obviously, that’s not always the case so it then falls on the student to get a part-time job or to save before going to make up the shortfall.”
The student loan system has also been criticised for being somewhat of a postcode lottery, with the amount a student is entitled to based off the household income at their home address.
Students are also being forced into taking part-time jobs alongside their courses, although interestingly, the results showed that a higher proportion of female students (45%) were in part-time work than their male counterparts (36%).
Despite this gloomy projection of living costs, the survey also produced a monthly total that excluded non-essential spending – with nights out, new clothes, gym memberships, and trips back home among those that did not class as essential costs.
This reviewed total found students able to save up to £409 per term, and over £1,200 each year.
Francis-Miles was however, critical of the suggestion that students should be expected to completely cut out all spending on non-essentials, “While they can cut back on unnecessary costs – takeaways and cinema trips, for example, expecting students not to spend any money on socialising or visiting family and friends is unreasonable.”
The survey also offered spending tips to students, including picking overdrafts with 0% interest, seeking offers from student bank accounts to save money, such as a free railcard, and looking to their university for financial advice. Figures from the research showed that 81% of students did not seek help when experiencing money problems.
Read more about the research here: https://www.moneysupermarket.com/current-accounts/student-spending/