The UK’s largest survey of student finance, published today on Push.co.uk, reveals that students who start at university this year are likely to owe £26,100 by the time they leave. Next year, when higher fees kick in, new students should expect their average debts to reach £53,400.
The annual survey by Push, the UK’s leading independent resource for prospective students, has found that student debt already tops £5,680 for each year of study. The inflation-busting increase of 6.4% may reflect a continuingly difficult economic climate for students seeking part-time and temporary jobs.
The Push Student Debt Survey is the most detailed annual analysis of students’ financial position, often used by the Government and other institutions as the authoritative research. This year, it has involved interviews with over 2,800 students at 115 university campuses throughout the UK.
Prospective students receiving their A level results next Thursday will be particularly concerned by the record debts students are already facing. However, around 150,000 applicants are expected not to get places this year and if they postpone their entry until next year, they will be subject to the new fee regime which will cost them even more. For students starting in 2012, in England – where tuition fees will be rising to an estimated average of £8,630 – the average debt on graduation will reach £59,100.
The different funding arrangements around the UK are clearly reflected in the data. In Scotland, which has the most generous funding system, debts are well under half those south of the border. Meanwhile, with an average of £6,231 per year, students face the worst debts in Wales, where opportunities for paid work appear to have dried up.
There is considerable variation between individual universities too. The national average projected debt on graduation for anyone in higher education right now stands at £19,103, but at 8 universities, the figure has already broken the £30,000 barrier. However, at 18 universities, many of which are in Scotland, borrowing is likely to remain under £10,000.
The Push Survey also examines who has lent money to students. Three-quarters of the debt is owed to the Government-backed Student Loans Company, which offers favourable repayment terms. However, 5% is owed to banks and 2% to credit cards.
The figures posted today on Push.co.uk form part of the website’s detailed profiles of every university in the UK, covering every aspect of student life from teaching standards to the price of beer on each campus.
With university clearing starting next week, Push.co.uk features exclusive, insider information on finding the right university and tips to give your application the edge. The website also boasts the ‘Uni Chooser’ tool, the uniquely powerful search-and-sort facility which enables students to find the university most suited to them.
Johnny Rich, Editor of Push.co.uk, commented:
“This is the first real glimpse we’ve had of what we should expect when the new fees hit students. The Government has failed to explain how debts of over £50,000 will not cripple graduates financially, particularly given that students will need to find a quarter of that money from outside the support of the official loans system.”
“For students this year and in the future, it’s never been more important to understand the differences between universities. It’s not just the debts that vary widely – the whole experience students have at different institutions and what they stand to gain from them vary too.”
For a full version of The Push Student Debt Survey 2011, visit www.push.co.uk/student-debt-survey-2011.