Pressure to quit over finance worries

A new study from Go Compare suggests that a quarter of undergraduates consider giving up studies due to finance worries

Commissioned, the survey found that a third of students say the amount of time they spend worrying about their finances is affecting their studies, while 22% believe that having to work to pay the bills while studying is having a similarly negative effect.

The study, conducted with 1,000 current UK students about to go into their 2nd, 3rdor 4th year of university, provides a snapshot of the financial realities.

As a result, the picture across the UK is varied with 40% of students saying they expect to owe less than £10,000 at the end of their course, but 20% think the figure is likely to be more than £30,000. On average, current students estimate that they will owe £16,514 by the time they finish their course, but in Scotland the figure is just £12,048.

Humanities students expect to owe the most (£22,253) followed by art students (£18,981) and language undergraduates (£17,476), while law students had the lowest anticipated final debt of £13,068. Despite expecting the lowest final debt, more law students (34%) than any other group said that they might have to stop their studies because of their finances.

Current students are funding their studies in a wide range of ways with 46% saying they are using their own savings, 28% are relying on family savings, 23% are using maintenance grants, while 18% have a bursary and 12% a scholarship.

26% of the undergraduates taking part in the survey had a part-time job. Those studying for an education or teaching degree (41%) were most likely to have an income from part-time employment, but despite their money worries, law students were the least likely (14%) to have a part-time job.

When asked whether they would advise other people to go to university the majority (66%) of those surveyed said they would, while 9% said ‘no, it’s too expensive’ (a view held by 17% of language students).

Just over a quarter of undergraduates (26%) said they would recommend students to go to a local university or college so they could save money by living at home.

The survey also revealed that:

  • 36% of students think university courses should be condensed to two years. Over half (51%) of maths (including accountancy and finance degrees) students thought courses should be cut down
  • 12% think that their student loan is going to be a lot larger than they’d expected
  • 16% of undergraduates have no idea how they are going to pay off their student debt
  • 36% think tuition fees are putting people off going to university
  • Half of those surveyed think schools should provide more financial education
  • 45% said that universities should provide students with more financial support and advice

Claire Peate, customer insight manager at, commented: ‘Some of the projections about student debt levels post-tuition fees are eye-watering and will certainly be a concern to any parent with a child at university or thinking of going.

“It is very worrying indeed to learn that almost a quarter of current undergraduates think that they might have to give up their studies because of their financial situation.” has produced a guide to student finances:


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