First-year students more concerned about their money than their studies, study finds

By Sophie Gregory

Students going into first year are more concerned about managing their money than achieving academic success, a study has found.

The research, conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS) on behalf of the student insurance provider Endsleigh, also found that one in four students spend their first student loan instalment in less than a month.

Ranking their concerns in first year, 40% of students said “managing my money” was an issue for them, higher than the 30% of students who ranked “achieving academic success” as their top priority.

Money management is a significant concern for students, with 7% reporting that they were unable to make their first loan instalment last more than a week.

Overdrafts also seem to play a key role in student life, as the research found 49% of students with an overdraft report they are “always” in it, and 28% reporting that they “regularly” use their overdraft.

Freshers were not the only students with concerns – 61% of students reported feeling that university was far more expensive than they had anticipated. This is in spite of 45% of students feeling “quite” prepared for the cost of university life.

The student insurance provider Endsleigh responded to the findings by suggesting parents talk to young people about money management prior to them going to university.

Alex Jones, a spokesperson for Endsleigh, said: “Starting university can feel pretty overwhelming, and our research shows that a lot of students are unfortunately letting money issues get in the way of their studies, with many unable to budget properly or make a plan to manage their student or personal debt.

“There’s still time to talk about money management before they head off to Freshers this year. If you can help them to plan ahead by sorting a budget and organising things they tend to put off  – like opening a good student account and  getting any  gadget and contents insurance they may need – they’ll be able to concentrate on their studies, and you can relax that they’ve got a plan in place to manage their funds.”

The research findings come from data gathered by the NUS between April and May 2017, with a sample of 2,064 students aged 18-25.

Photograph: MiraCosta Community College via Creative Commons

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