Nearly half of Britain’s students are are worried about having enough money to buy essential groceries such as bread and milk from an average weekly food spend of £24.32, according to research by the National Union of Students Extra (NUS Extra). The survey also finds that many students are struggling to get together enough money to cover basic costs such as travel and textbooks. Travel costs of £17.35 a week are also a cause for concern, with 43% worried about daily travel to university or college. As many as half are worried about being able to buy course resources such as books and materials.
NUS Extra president, Shakira Martin, said the survey findings showed the “desperate state” of student finances.
“Not only are university students forced to take on an enormous debt burden from the moment they begin studying, they are also given insufficient support to survive throughout their studies.” She continued, “No wonder we are seeing those from the most deprived backgrounds dropping out before they complete their studies. Rising living costs affect the poorest students the most, forcing those at university to take out bigger loans which means that they now leave with the highest levels of debt: up to £57,000. With the situation as it is, we can never achieve equality in this country. The education system is in urgent need of change.”
The research with further education and higher education students found that financial pressures meant almost three-quarters of students (71%) were stressed and anxious about money. Half worked during term time, while 23% had used overdrafts to extend their finances.