0605 GMT December 07, 2019
Most worry about their student debts, many believe their degree was not worth the money and their confidence that a degree has improved their chances of getting a good job is diminishing, according to the survey published on Wednesday, the Guardian reported.
The NUS report, Double Jeopardy, concluded that those who graduated in 2015 have entered the world of work with significant debt, having paid far more for their education while receiving far less of a benefit from that education in the labor market than previous generations.
Six months after leaving university, 47 percent of the 2015 graduate cohort were living back at home with their parents or guardian to save money; seven out of 10 said they were concerned about their student debt, and half thought their degree was not worth the fees they had paid.
Quite apart from their student loan debts, six out of 10 still had outstanding consumer debt left over from their degree, averaging at £2,600, and 46 percent had accumulated further debt since leaving university.
Yet only six percent said they would not have gone into higher education at all if they could turn the clock back. They valued the knowledge and skills their degree had given them and the ability to critically analyze the world.
On employment, 52 percent were in full-time work, with 13 percent working part-time and two percent self-employed. Just more than eight percent said they were unemployed, while 17percent were studying for a post-graduate qualification.
Of those in work, six out of 10 were employed on permanent contracts; a quarter were employed on fixed-term contracts and six percent were on causal or zero-hours contracts.
The report was based on an online survey of more than 500 graduates who had been full-time students from a range of different institutions, and is a follow-up to a similar survey last summer of the same respondents, looking at the cost of study and its impact on graduate decision making.
Sorana Vieru, NUS vice president for higher education, said: “This research shows many graduates are without work, badly paid or in precarious and casualized employment, especially women.
“The majority are in debt, not just with student loan repayments, but they also owe money to banks, credit card companies and loan sharks.
“The graduates face a double jeopardy: They enter the world of work having paid far more for their education, with the debts hanging over them. Yet they receive far less benefit from this education in the labor market compared to previous generations, while living costs keep rising and the welfare safety net is shrinking.”
The study also flagged up income inequality between men and women, showing three times as many men in full-time work than women were earning over £30,000, while double the number of women than men were earning less than £15,000. The lowest levels of employment meanwhile were among those who studied creative arts, where 42 percent were employed full-time and average earnings were lowest.
The NUS survey was published the day after Labour party detailed its plans to reinstate both student maintenance grants ― abolished by the government earlier this month ― and the education maintenance allowance for 16-18-year-olds from low-income families which was scrapped in 2011.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “Today’s commitment to restoring both EMA and student maintenance grants shows that while the Tories continue to burden our young people with debt they will never repay, the Labour party is committed to investing in our young people.
Meanwhile an online poll by HSBC of 1,000 UK students suggested that the average student spends £3,304 on their first 100 days of university, while 19 percent spend their entire student loan within the first 100 days.
More than half (56 percent) said living away from home was more expensive than expected and 35 percent admitted they found managing their finances overwhelming. A sizeable 42 percent received financial help from parents and family; 16 percent have a job and another 16 percent use their overdraft.
The survey also found that rent and food are the biggest cost (£1,279 and £670 respectively).