First-year university students start their academic lives worrying about managing their money rather than achieving academic success, new research has revealed. The study conducted by the National Union of Students on behalf of student insurance provider Endsleigh also found that young people are struggling to make their loans last as they live in their overdrafts.
Ranking a list of top concerns they had in their first year, two in five (40%) of students said that ‘managing my money ’was a key concern, significantly higher than the one in three (33%) who put ‘achieving academic success’ at the top.
Worryingly, one in four (25%) weren’t able to make their first student loan instalment last more than one month, while a full 7% claim it didn’t last them much more than a week, revealing a lack of basic budgeting skills among Freshers. This chaotic approach to money management is underlined by the finding that just under half (49%) of students with an overdraft say they’re ‘always’ in their overdraft, while more than one in four (28%) ‘regularly’ use their overdraft.
Worries about money management aren’t only for Freshers – more than half (54%) of all university students have failed to make a plan for paying off their student debts, while 55% have failed to plan for paying off their personal debts. While the majority of students claim that before starting university they felt either quite (45%) or very (17%) prepared, three in five (61%) felt that university was more expensive than they had expected.
The student insurance provider said it was calling on parents to talk to young people about money management before they head off to university.