Students rely on bank of Mum and Dad

Student and parents

Four out of five students constantly worry about money while at university, according to a new study.

The average student in 2014 spends £735 a month but the average maintenance loan only covers £458 of living costs each month, which means students have a shortfall of £277, according to student advice website Save the Student.

Only one in six students has a part-time job, while nearly one in five (18%) rely on their parents to bridge the gap in their spending. However, one in three students feel their parents don't give them enough financial support.

High street banks also play a role in providing student overdrafts, with 12% of those polled using their overdraft facilities.

Universities and wider student funding support just over 10% of students with living costs.

More worrying is the fact that some students turn to credit cards and payday loans for extra money. Some 3% of students would take out a credit card, while 2% of those polled said they would contact a payday loan company.

In a financial emergency, more than a third (37%) of students would turn to their parents for help, while a quarter would go to their bank and one in 10 would ask friends for a loan.

Worries about money has a broader impact on students' welfare, with almost a half claiming that money worries adversely affect their studies and the majority believing it causes their diets to suffer.

Thorny issue

Jake Butler, editor of Save the Student, said: "It's a thorny issue of how much parents should contribute to the shortfall, and it entirely depends on individual circumstances. Ultimately I don't believe parents should have the expectation put upon them.

"However, with hearing daily horror stories of students living on the breadline, I feel it's still important that parents are made more aware of the situation their child at university may be in."

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I’ve no doubt that a large percentage of payday loan customers don’t have too much complaint – people aren’t stupid, and the costs of payday lending are common knowledge…. I expect Wonga to enter the English language any time now, in a similar way to McJob. Take the money, pay it back, moan about how much it cost, repeat.


But what does this poor excuse for ‘research’ actually tell us? The fact that customers were treated “with dignity and respect” is meaningless. How is that defined? It can mean completely different things to a customer or a regulator and I suspect the ambiguity in the question is deliberate. Of course payday lenders treat you with dignity and respect when you’re borrowing from them… that’s just basic customer service. If they didn’t, people would just use a different payday lender.