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Student Debts

The Latest Report
Unite - the largest student accommodation provider in the UK, housing approx 30,000 students has this week published its 2006 Student Living Report.

Conducted by MORI, this is one of the most influential annual student reports published. Focusing on a wide range of student issues - the report highlights general student impressions as well as opinions and beliefs on specific issues..

The results suggest the percentage of students working whilst studying has stayed constant at approximately 41%, whilst there is still a disproportionate number from working class backgrounds working. The kind of work students are doing is also still skewed towards low skilled jobs - in retail, bar work and catering (37%, 16% and 9% respectively), whilst there is still a strong minority using skills such as nursing or teaching to fund their time at university.
Need More Money?
Figures from the report suggest that a higher percentage of students this year claim to be working to provide themselves with basic living essentials - up 14% from 3 years ago. This suggests that times are getting harder for students, and although a similar percentage work during term time, now more than ever, it is out of a necessity. These figures are even greater for working class students and those who work long hours.
Is Student Debt Bigger?
The survey was conducted in universities around the country and students at different stages of their education where encouraged to participate. The average current debt was £5267 and the anticipated debt at graduation stood at £9692. This is a slight decrease on the amount anticipated by students last year. Since the first Student Living Report in 2000, this figure has been consistently increasing, and this is the first year that it has actually decreased. Although it is impossible to suggest that student debt is perceived to be decreasing there is definitely a sign of stabilisation.

Although student debt seems to be stabilising according to this survey, it also suggests more and more students are requiring money for basic living essentials. These two statements do not naturally follow on from each other and suggest some greater underlying change. That change could very well be in how students are living and their overall attitude to debt. Although costs of university and living are increasing, the fact that the average debt has decreased shows that more and more students are living more carefully and spending their money on basic living essentials. It would be very interesting to see if this stabilisation in debt and increase in expenditure on basic living has been detrimental to other student expenditure. Has bar revenue decreased or have students become a smaller consumer group to businesses?

As times get harder for students, money becomes an increasingly important issue, and they are having to adapt their lifestyles to ensure they do not build up unmanageable levels of debt.

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