The National Union of Students (NUS) says its research suggests two in three students have financial worries – and three in five have fears for their long-term job prospects.
The figures come from a summer survey of more than 5,000 university students in all parts of the UK.
Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, NUS UK vice-president for higher education, said the survey figures amounted to a “truly damning verdict” of the government.
The NUS said it was keen to point out the scale of student anxiety after the government announced an increase to National Insurance contributions – and rumours emerged it would drop the student loan repayment threshold to £23,000, bringing thousands of graduates in line for monthly payments. Both policies would, it said, “target the incomes of younger graduates on low and middling incomes” in the “midst of an ongoing cost of living crisis”.
Sixty-three per cent of students surveyed expressed concern about their long-term career prospects, with 62% concerned about immediate job opportunities. The lack of job opportunities in general (45%), or in their specific field (41%), were the two factors cited most by those surveyed.
Seventy per cent of students are concerned about their ability to manage financially.
The union called on the government to drop its policies on student loans and national insurance.
“Rather than let down students once more, they should work with us to build the student movement’s vision of a fully- funded, accessible, lifelong, and democratised higher education system,” said Ms Gyebi-Ababio.
An NUS survey of over 5,800 students in March found that 23% had been unable to pay their rent since the beginning of December. The union warned that housing costs “are overwhelming for many” and could push “them over the brink”.