The recession hits us all and recent rises in student educational fees has meant after Mum and Dad have taken a loan to pay the initial tuition fees many students are learning how to earn cash to support themselves. But sometimes this is at the expense of attending lectures.
A recent survey revealed some interesting facts about the life of a modern student. Around 37 per cent work part time during term time, of which 62 per cent of them have three part time jobs. However this industrious acumen has an adverse factor. To maintain their work commitments a quarter of all working students are guilty of missing an average seven hours per week of lectures and some as high as 10 hours per week are lost. This amounts to a concerning total of 252 course hours lost per year and an untold effect on the final class of degree.
The favourite enterprises are working as mystery shoppers or selling goods on eBay and a courageous 6 per cent of students learn what its like to be a guinea pig in medical tests.
Central funding from parents amounts to £3,617 per annum, totalling around £10,851 over the full degree course. Six per cent of parents provide up to £9,000 per year ( £ 27,000 over the whole degree course) to support their offspring. To pay for all this 20 per cent of parents take out a loan, 10 per cent take a second job and 24 per cent work overtime to raise the funds.
Although we learn of the sizable student loan debt students amass by the end of the degree a surprising 45 per cent do not apply for the loan. Those who do 37 per cent say it is immediately consumed by debt, nine per cent say they have blown it within three days and 49 per cent have exhausted the funds within one month. Honesty does not necessarily score highly with over half of all students claiming to have lied to parents as to what they have used the grants and loans for. Eighteen per cent have used to buy a car, 25 per cent have enjoyed a holiday and 10 per cent have blown some on eating in Michelin starred restaurants.
Inevitably the rites of passage involve alcohol and unfortunately drugs. Fifty three per cent spend the majority of funds on alcohol and regrettably 10 per cent claim to have used it mostly to buy drugs.
Boys can at last outperform girls at university. Thirteen per cent of boys have part time jobs compared to seven per cent of girls. And 32 per cent of boys bought designer clothes compared to a surprising 18 per cent of girls! Yes- you would have bet the other way round!
Life at university does have additional elements to the academic content. It does teach students the reality of financial management and that money, despite years of ardent research, unfortunately does not grow on trees. Irrespective of the degree grade or subject speciality the experience does seem to generate some savvy individuals, and those whose learnt the hard way that if you borrow money it has to be paid back. Perhaps we should offer a new degree option, how to generate income and control expenditure. A reality check to the real world.
The survey was commissioned August 2010 by shopping website Voucher Codes.