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This year's students face huge £23,000 debt

An independent survey conducted by Push Student Debt has revealed that students who commence university courses this Autumn will graduate with approximately £23,000 of debt. They surveyed 2,024 students at different stages of their degree programme and calculated that debts averaged at more than £5,000 a year.

NUS (National Union of Students) also conducted a survey and concluded that some courses demand more money being spent on equipment and books than others. It has been discovered that student debts also vary depending on institution and region. The highest level of debt is in England with the average annual
debt at £5,271.

Some students studying in London have even said that once they leave university that they will have over £30,000 of debt. This level of debt has escalated by 10% in the space of a year. Northern Ireland have seen a considerable rise in their student debt over the last five years with it now standing at approximately £4,324 a year.

Annual student debts are slightly less in Wales at £4,021. In stark contrast, debts in Scotland have fallen. Students owe approximately £2,194 for each year of studying. This is due to tuition fees being paid for by the government for all Scottish and EU nationals plus students do not have to pay back a graduate endowment after graduating university. As a consequence of the Scottish government, tuition fees in the rest of the UK are being reviewed.

Johnny Rich, editor of push.co.uk, believes that the recession is partly to blame for fuelling rising student debt. “Finding part time work has got harder and many students are facing real financial hardship and are worrying about what lies ahead. Even so, the advantages of having a degree still vastly outweigh the costs.”

The survey conducted by NUS revealed that more information on student finance needs to be readily available to potential students through prospectus’ and university websites. Wes Streeting, NUS Director said that universities need to be ‘more open’ when attracting students and let them know the true financial costs and levels of debts that may be incurred.

The higher education minister, David Lammy, said the government feels it is very important to make sure that the cost and funding of going to university does not become a barrier to people attending, whatever their background. “We want to widen access further, which is why we will continue to offer a generous package of support including bursaries, grants and loans at low interest that do not have to be paid back until graduates are in work and earning over £15,000 a year.” He adds, “Getting a degree remains a strong investment for a future career with graduates earning on average considerably more over a lifetime than people without a degree level qualification.”

With the cost of student debt on the increase it has never been more evident that students should protect themselves and their possessions so that they do not lose out financially. E&L offer student insurance starting from as little as £1.44 a month. It is a sad, unfortunate fact that students are very vulnerable to thieves. Many students own expensive hi-tech equipment such as laptops, i-pods, playstations etc making themselves an attractive target to thieves. Visit www.eandl.co.uk/student to find out more information on the student insurance scheme offered at E&L.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/education/8205539.stm

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