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“Student loans last 52 days” – So what about the other 313???

As Impact News recently reported, the average student will have drained their bank account by the time they reach the two-month mark. This fact will leave many shaking their heads in disapproval and putting this down entirely to the stereotypical financial irresponsibility of the student, but if we compare the income of a student with that of a graduate only a year or two their senior, the sticky situation within which many undergrads find themselves is made much more understandable…

Graduate starting salaries range massively depending on location and profession, so for comparison purposes let’s take the average figure of £21,000. Divide this by 365, this gives the average graduate an allowance of £57.53 a day.

For an average student, however, their loan leaves them with a measly £14.71 per day. Factor in the rocketing costs of accommodation which can easily exceed £7000 in catered halls, as well as the other essentials that come hand in hand with university life (travel, books, club nights, 3am takeaways…), it’s no surprise that 93% of students have completely blown their loan by the time first term draws to a close.

“Students effectively have to pay for exactly the same things as graduates, yet survive on an outrageously low budget”

Furthermore – although perhaps with the exception of twice-maybe-thrice-weekly alcohol shops and nights out – students effectively have to pay for exactly the same things as graduates, yet survive on an outrageously low budget.

So a student needs an extra £7819 a year in order to scrape through. According to Save the Student, a massive 71% of undergrads rely on their parents to cover the shortfall between their loan and living costs. But for those whose families can’t or won’t pay, they are either forced to turn to extreme measures or forced to miss out on the university experience entirely, the exact kind of injustice the government and universities are trying to fight.

Additionally, over half of all students depend on income from a part time job to fund their way of life. Although beneficial in several ways, providing transferable skills and professional experience, many warn about the potentially detrimental effect employment could have on their results and subsequent job prospects, rendering this a somewhat complicated solution to undergraduate financial woes.

“Shockingly 7% of students even sell their own body to be able to afford a once-in-a-lifetime experince that should, undoubtedly be available to everyone”

As it turns out, some students are finding ingenious – and simultaneously horrific – ways to make a bit of extra cash and desperately avoid maxing out that overdraft. As stated by Save the Student, some provide a ‘fake date’ service for singletons with confidence issues, whilst others resort to deliberately being infected with an illness as part of a medical study. Tragically, a shocking 7% of students even sell their own body to be able to afford a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should, undoubtedly, be accessible to everyone.

Obviously we have to consider that some students may not be the best with money, such as the 1 in 4 that have never budgeted or those who buy Russian Standard instead of Tesco Value, but expecting a student to survive, as an adult, on less than £15 a day is pretty much impossible.

Laura Hanton

Image: Frankybaby via flickr

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