Student Debt Serious Concern For Most Students

A survey conducted by Journalism students at the Medway Campus yesterday shows that more than half of the students interviewed are worried about their financial situation.

Two of the main concerns are being forced to make sacrifices due to a restricted budget while at University, and finding adequate postgraduate employment to pay off their loans.

On Monday, the Guardian revealed that one in three graduates have not begun repayments seven years after finishing their courses, because their salaries are not exceeding the threshold of £15,000 a year.

"I have £36,000 debt - and that is for my firstdegree", said a student of Marine Engineering at the University of Kent who has just started his second degree course.

Sixty per cent of the students interviewed at the Universities at Medway expressed concern about student debt.

Many find themselves trying to reduce costs, one student said he had started shopping at the "Poundstore" and walked instead ofgoing by bus. Rob Cousins, 19, a Criminal Justice student at Kent, said he was"definitely worried" and that he tried to cut back on expenses such as food or going out and added that going to University had certainly changed hislifestyle. Anthony Blackman, an 18-year-old Music Tech student at Kent who also complained about having to save money for every time he wants to go out, shared this view.

Adenike Oyefeso, 38, a mature student on a Pharmacy course at the University of Greenwich, pointed out some different aspects. Since she had been used to a regular income before studying, she said thatsince she enrolled on her full-time course, she has had to make some sacrifices, such as being less able to take her little son to the cinema orpursuing other leisure activities. Also, since living on student loan, urging letters and calls about missed payments have become more frequent, Adenike explained.

However, it is not only their current restricted financial means that students are concerned about. Asked whether they thought they would be able to pay their loans back once they graduated, the students' answers ranged from "hopefully" to "probably not".

On the other hand, 20 per cent of students included in the survey said that their hopes rested on their employment prospects after graduation. Many were certain that their degree would allow them to enter a well-paid career and thus enable them to pay back their debt.

What remains, though, is the fear that given the current economic climate, there might be less employment opportunities in three years' time.

Comments

Interesting piece Laura. I found the Guardian report depressing. The sorry truth is that too many students are doing degrees that will not prove as valuable as they need them to be. We are asking you to work hard because we want your qualifications to be worth every penny and every drop of sweat.   

By TimLuckhurst

fewer employment opportunities, not less. Good story. Well written.

By richardpendry