Student debt crisis deepens

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by Roisin Sweeney, FreshReporter

Figures published today show that student debt in the UK is reaching record levels.  A survey by push.co.uk, the student guide, has revealed that students beginning university in 2008 can be expected to owe approximately £21,500 by the time they leave university, a rise of 9.6% from 2007.

[caption id=”attachment_1868” align=”alignright” width=”150” caption=”Are you burried under student debt?”][/caption]

This rise of over twice the rate of inflation suggests that students too are being badly hit by the recent economic downturn.

The situation in Scotland is slightly better than the rest of the UK, given that Scotland has a more generous funding scheme. The average Scottish student can expect to owe £3,453 a year.  However taking into consideration the fact that degrees in Scotland run over four years, in the long term students north of the border are only slightly better off.

This might come as a shock to some students as another survey undertaken by the National Union of Students estimates that students pay £450 pounds more each year than they expect.

Wes Streeting from the NUS said “It is clear that many students are sleepwalking into financial crisis. As the credit crunch kicks in, and with food and fuel costs set to rise even further, we can expect more and more students to get into serious financial difficulty, with many having to resort to taking out commercial loans, or being bailed out by their parents”

This suggests worrying times ahead for students. Johnny Rich, series editor of push.co.uk, is still positive, saying, “The advantages of having a degree still vastly outweigh the costs and the Push survey shows that – with high quality advice and information – students can keep their debts down while still enjoying the benefits of university.” Comments?  Are you struggling with student debt?  Leave your thoughts below.

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