Results from a Which? University survey have revealed that prior to the start of term, new students spend more time worrying about their finances than investigating their pre- course work.
The results indicated that over three quarters of new university students research into what financial help is available from their university, while just over one in five school leavers look up their reading lists and other study related tasks.
The survey also revealed that 65% of students were already starting to consider what part-time jobs would be available to them at university, before they got their A-level results.
The results add to the damning picture of financial stress while at university. Just three weeks ago, a study by Gocompare.com highlighted that 23% of students contemplated dropping out of university because of financial difficulties.
76% The proportion of students who research what financial help is available from their university before they start their course
The new findings from Which? University imply that time that should be spent studying is instead spent on investigating money issues, which is therefore having an effect on students’ learning.
Speaking on behalf of Which? University, Sonia Sodha said: ‘‘For many students, starting university means living independently for the first time, so it’s encouraging to hear freshers have been thinking about how to budget. A student loan will only stretch so far, so making the most of financial support available from universities and considering part-time work to fit in around studies will help students take control”.
Commenting on the issue, the Green Party’s candidate for the 2015 general election, Lesley Grahame, said: “Education benefits everyone, not just those that receive it, and universities benefit society as a whole. The policy of gradual marketisation of higher education distracts students, teachers and everyone connected to higher education with the bureaucracy of debt. Young people need the opportunity to expand on their learning without being saddled by burdensome money woes”.
Which? University have also put together a small guide to help students successfully manage their finances:
Make a weekly budget
Deduct your rent and other outgoings from your budget, then split the remainder up into the number of weeks you have at uni.
Curb course costs
Many universities run second-hand book sales, allowing you to buy cheaper books from older students (and then sell them on once you’ve finished).
Make sure to do your food shopping in the evenings for reduced buys and check out any nearby or on-campus markets.
Make those visits home a lot less costly by investing in a young person’s railcard or coachcard.
Supplement your student loan with a part-time job
Many universities offer lots of flexible, part-time work you can fit around your studies.