More than half of university students say they are struggling financially

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
Man counting college savings fund, tuition fee or student loan with calculator. Education price and expenses concept. Money and papers on table. Calculating budget and planning finance.
Analysis by student accommodation platform UniHomes found that some 56% of those surveyed said their loans did not provide them with enough money to live comfortably, while a further 30% stated they could just about get by. Photo: Getty

More than half of university students have admitted to struggling to get by financially, with food, travel and course materials eating away most at their student loans after the rent is paid.

Analysis by student accommodation platform UniHomes found that some 56% of those surveyed said their loans did not provide them with enough money to live comfortably, while a further 30% stated they could just about get by.

The data, which questioned 1,012 UK students carried out by Find Out Now, revealed that 54% of students have had to get a job while at university in order to supplement their loans.

Food costs were the biggest outgoing for 49% of students, university itself was the largest outgoing for 18%, with travel to and from uni ranking high (10%) along with the cost of course materials (8%).

The average student loan debt currently totals as much as £40,000 ($54,000) over the course of three years, amounting to £13,333 per year.

However, the varying cost of renting around Britain means that the proportion of this loan required to cover the cost of renting can differ depending on your university of choice.

The most reasonable area of Britain for student rental affordability is the North East. Those heading to North East based universities, such as Newcastle and Durham, will pay an average of £108 per week or £4,104 per term year, equating to 31% of their annual student loan.

The next most affordable is the West Midlands, home to universities like Warwick and Birmingham, with typical student rents at £112 per person, per week accounting for 32% of the annual student loan.

READ MORE: How long does it take to pay off a student loan?

At the other end of the spectrum, London is the least affordable city for students, with rents in the capital averaging £162 per week. At a total cost of £6,156 per year, the average student in London is required to spend 46% of their annual student loan just to cover the cost of renting.

Similarly in the South East, home to the University of Oxford, rents make up 46% of a students yearly debt.

Phil Greaves, co-founder of UniHomes, said: “Attending university is a great life experience but for many, it’s one that requires additional financial support in the form of a student loan and often a job while you’re there.

“One of the heftiest costs incurred while at university will be the cost of renting and many students will see a good proportion of their student loan go towards covering this primary outgoing. One way to help soften the blow is by searching for a student home where the rent also includes bills.”

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