Student debt facts and helping you with some money saving tips

Student life is synonymous with building up debt while scraping by on baked beans and wearing extra jumpers to save on the heating bill.

But, according to recent research, that doesn’t mean youngsters at university are necessarily bad with money.

Figures from life insurance provider SunLife show that  – even though about 500,000 of the young people starting university this year will leave owing a massive £44,000 – students are actually 60% more likely to budget than the over 65s.

Savvier students…

The SunLife study found that almost six in ten 18-24 year olds stick to a budget, compared to just 39% of those aged 55-64 and 32% of those aged 65 and over.

Perhaps less surprisingly, those aged 24 and under also are four times as likely to use a phone app to keep an eye on their incomings and outgoings than any other age group.

SunLife managing director Dean Lamble said: “Younger people are budgeting more stringently than any other age group because the rising cost of attending university means they have to.”

“Living through seven years of recession has probably also had a huge effect on how they view money.”

But bigger debts

More than 470,000 young adults started university in the last few months.

And most of them will have debts of about £40,000 by the time they graduate.

Their parents and grandparents, on the other hand, would largely have received grants if they attended university.

Student loans weren’t brought in until 1989, and even then, poorer students still received grants of up to £2,2653 (equivalent to £6,500 today).

Lamble said: “While today’s 50 to 70 years olds are likely to be the first generation to be better off than both their parents and their children, today’s young people are leaving university saddled with tens of thousands of pounds of debt.”

Student budgeting tips

Worried about making ends meet at university? Here are some top money tips for students…

*Set yourself a budget for spending on non-essential items such as gadgets and nights out. To do this, add up all your income (student loan etc) then subtract what you have to spend on essentials such as food and bills. What’s left is the amount you can afford to splurge.

*Take advantage of free stuff. Students can avoid paying council tax and for medical prescriptions, for example.

*Use an NUS card to get discounts on everything from high street fashion to restaurant meals and cinema tickets.

*Get a 16-25 railcard that saves you a third on most train fares.

*Use budgeting technology such as SunLife’s calculator app or TSB’s Online Money Planner to help you keep track of your cash.

*Don’t go without home insurance. Student houses are often burgled, so it’s best to get a policy that will replace your valuables. Your parents’ cover may protect you while you are living in student halls (although this is worth checking as policies vary). But once you are living in a privately owned house or flat, your own policy is a sensible precaution.

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