62% of those undertaking paid employment to support themselves whilst at university say that the extra income is used for leisure activities like going out or socialising with friends. However, more than half (55%) have reported that they need to work in order to cover basic living expenses such as food, accommodation and household bills.
Graduate, Hannah Stradling, was forced to use her childhood savings in order to cover the cost of her bills whilst at university: “Over the summer all of the money I earned went on my rent because the loans didn't come in before it was due. When the loans came in and I could use it to pay my rent, I still used a lot of my earnings to pay the remainders which were between £1,400 and £900”. Hannah does go on to say about how some of the money she earned did go on socialising but says it was upsetting to break into her savings as she had been saving since her 9th birthday.
The survey showed that fewer students are depend on their student loan than recorded in previous years. The percentage of those who rely on student loan payments has reduced by over 10%. This figure may be accounted for in part by the rise in the number of international students coming to study in the UK as they do not receive student loans for their tuition and living expenses.
The results indicate however, that the majority of the UK students depend heavily on a student loan. Bex Fris Jansen, another graduate, said: “My job paid minimum wage, which was a bit unfair considering how hard we were expected to work... the student loan therefore just helped to cover my rent, but I still had to make up some with my own money.”
Not all students opting to take on part-time work are doing so out of necessity though. 44% of those surveyed have taken jobs to start saving for life after being a student and 40% of students say they have chosen to work to avoid getting into debt. Nearly 60% of those questioned view student employment as a chance to improve their CVs and get ahead in the competitive graduate recruitment market once they have finished their course.