The effects of inflation have been felt across the country, with food prices rising an average of 20% according to the BBC. This along with rising prices of gas and electricity have placed many in positions of financial hardship. In analysing the cost-of-living crisis, one particular area of interest is how these trends impact the student population. A new study by the Office for National Statistics has examined the effects of the cost-of-living crisis on students with a significant number facing money problems. The results of the study provide insight into how student life is changing as a result of economic factors.
Over 90% of students reported that their cost of living was higher than the previous year. Similarly, over 90% reported feeling worried regarding this rise in costs. This is relatively unsurprising, given the widespread nature of the cost of living crisis. 50% said that they were experiencing financial difficulties, with 35% classifying them as minor difficulties and 15% classifying them as major difficulties.
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How many students have taken on new debt?
While the cost-of-living crisis has only been going on relatively recently, it has the potential to have long-term impacts on students. One quarter of students reported that they had taken on new debt because of the crisis. Of these students, 66% said that they did this because their student loans were insufficient to support their cost of living.
Despite these difficulties, 73% of students said they had not applied for financial assistance from their university.
Over three quarters said that they felt concerned that the cost-of-living crisis would have a negative impact on their studies. Three in 10 students reported skipping non mandatory teaching to save money. Four in 10 said that they were studying from home to cut down on costs. Over a third say they’re unlikely to pursue further education after their degree because of costs.
These increases in the cost of living have had effects on the mental wellbeing of those in university as well. 45% of students surveyed reported that their mental health was worse than the start of autumn term in 2022. In addition, students reported a general life satisfaction of 5.9/10, which is lower than the adult population, which reported a life satisfaction of 6.8/10.
This data is based on reports from 4000 students and shows just how many have money problems at this difficult time.
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