This term, UK students face unprecedented levels of debt after graduation. According to Natwest Bank's research, students will complete their 3 year courses with almost £ 15,000 worth of debt. Last year a record 900 former students declared themselves bankrupt.
It's not all bad news though. According to government statistics, getting a degree will add £ 400,000 to your income during your working career, and in a recent survey, 90% of students believed the time spent at university was worth borrowing a substantial amount of money.
For those difficult first few years, we offer tips and advice for saving money, as well as some advice should your debt problems spiral out of control.
Many universities are offering courses with tuition fees at less than the £ 3000 annual rate. At this time, Leeds Metropolitan University is currently charging just £ 2,000 a year for all of its undergraduate courses and Anglia Ruskin University is currently offering £ 2,000 in cash to all prospective full-time students who start this autumn.
Universities are chasing students as never before and many are offering discounted tuition fees, or cash back refunds if you can pay tuition fees in advance.
Shop around to find the best deal.
One in five students study locally and live with their parents to save money, according to recent statistics. The problem with living at home though is that you will miss out on the infamous student life. It's been reported that two thirds of students who do live with their parents have never taken part in any social activities. Think carefully before opting to stay at home and study for a degree, you could have missed out on an important part of student life.
Take a part-time job
Something like 40% of students in the UK have part-time jobs to help them finance their studies. The average length of the working week is 14 hours and most students feel that their part-time jobs can help them with their future careers.
It would be better if you could find a vacation job, but in some areas this can be difficult. Avoid jobs where you have to work late or irregular hours.
Just borrow as much as you need
No one should spend recklessly whilst at university. If you later become bankrupt your Student Loan Company debts will not be written off because of government legislation. They will stay with you all your life and you will ever have to repay them.
However, banks are falling over theirselves as never before to lend money to students. If you spend sensibly, and stand a good chance of finding a well-paid job after you graduate, then you can top up your Student Loan Company money with a discount overdraft or bank loan.
Get free financial advice
If things get out of hand, do not bury your head in the sand. Contact Citizens Advice for free advice – your local NUS branch can help too.
Bear in mind that missing Student Loan Company repayments will not affect your credit record, but failing to meet commercial debts such as a bank loan or credit card can adversely affect your credit history and affect your ability to borrow money in the future.