Students are turning to alternative avenues of credit to fund their studies, new research has found, with 70 per cent of students reporting that their maintenance loan is not adequate.

The survey of 1,000 full-time students was conducted by Future Finance, a company which provides alternative student loans, and found that a third of students seek extra funding from credit cards, payday loans and overdrafts. While the utilisation of overdrafts is unsurprising, the trend towards accessing quick credit can further fuel a vicious circle of expanding debt and anxiety.

It goes on to contend that an absence of financial education within schools can exacerbate future problems, with 40 per cent of those asked unable to explain what APR (annual percentage rate) stands for.

According to Save The Student’s 2016 Student Money Survey, 80 per cent worry about making ends meet, while 56 per cent of the 2000 students asked feel their grades have suffered as a result of an insufficient loan.

Furthermore, research conducted by the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust has found that financial stress and debt anxieties risk increasing mental health conditions such as alcohol addiction and depression among students.

Indeed, a survey by YouGov in August revealed that over one in four undergraduates reported experiencing a mental health problem while at university, with financial worry often cited as a cause.

Students’ Union President Annie Pickering explained to The Badger what support is available to Sussex students: “With rising tuition fees and rents it is not surprising students are struggling financially. The Student Life Centre on campus can provide financial support to students and here at the Students’ Union we are always here to support and signpost students.

“Our Education officers administer the Academic Costs Student Hardship Fund which provide funds for students struggling to pay for extra academic costs.”

A university spokesperson said: “The University has a generous package of support for students with a household income of less than £42,875.

“The University also provides additional support for students in this category wishing to study a year abroad.

“Additionally, extra financial support is given to students with a household income of less than £25k… Students can also apply to Hardship funds if they experience an unanticipated financial difficulty.

“The Student Life Centre also offers one to one money advice and budgeting sessions with Money Advisors.”


Picture Credit: JPhotoStyle 

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