The survey which includes responses from over 3,500 applicants, undergraduates and postgraduates, revealed that 60% of future students do not know if their finance package will be enough to meet their living costs, identifying a financial knowledge gap.
Current students were asked if they felt their finance package was sufficient and while 56% said yes, 25% reported that it is not enough and 20% do not know if it would be enough to cover their living costs. Credit cards were the sixth most common source of finance used by postgraduates to fund their studies.
Further results showed:
– Students show real signs of struggling with their finances and are unable to manage their money effectively. The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ is still the most prevalent means of financing higher education
– 11% of undergraduates polled rely on credit cards and a worrying 2% on payday loans. This would imply over 250,000 students and 46,000 students in the UK respectively
– 28% of Postgraduates say their funding package is not enough to meet living costs and only 22% say the current funding system works
– Male students display significantly more confidence in social skills and financial management than females
Richard Smith, Managing Director of Operations, Unite Students said: “This year’s survey illustrates the degree to which non-academic aspects of the student experience underpin the academic. It is clear that applicants’ expectations do not match up to reality in relation to finances, employability and integration with other students. Despite these preoccupations, love of learning for its own sake does not appear to have diminished with interest in the subject and gaining knowledge for life ranking highly as reasons to study.
This is the first UK survey of the postgraduate non-academic student experience. The results showed an experience that is more diverse than that of undergraduates, and one which many postgraduates themselves struggled to define. And yet postgraduates share many of the same motivations and goals with undergraduates. Postgraduates are more likely to live in privately rented housing than undergraduates, and are more likely to live with a partner or family. Those that do live in more traditional student accommodation – who are more likely to be under 30, international and studying for a taught masters’ degree – show signs of having to work within a system that is designed with the needs of undergraduates in mind.