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UNITE Survey Highlights Growing Student Debt

Jan 16 2007 12:20
Nick Simpson
A new survey by UNITE, the student accomodation provider, highlights increasing student debts and the need for financial advice.
Debt: Not a Laughing Matter

UNITE's annual report has revealed that not only has student debt risen 9% but that many students need advice in making the right finanicial choices. The survery interviewed 1,600 students from 20 universities around the country.

While the average student spends £10,000 a year excluding fees, 93% are supported by their parents who typically contribute £4,000 a year to the cost of studying. The number of students in debt has also risen 8% to 75%.

More concerning is that UNITE report students from "lower socio-economic backgrounds... [are] ...more likely to look to borrow money from elsewhere, thereby increasing their overall level of debt", forgoing a government student loan that charges interest at the (recently raised) rate of inflation, for the likes of credit cards.

University offers good value for money.
NUS Vice-President for Welfare

The National Union of Students welfare Vice-President, Veronica King, commented that she was pleased 94% of students thought university was a good investment and that NUS is "deeply concerned by the reported rise in levels of student debt", but "university offers good value for money" .

In what looks like an attempt to curb rampant student debt, the government introduced a new busary scheme for students paying in excess of £2,700 for tution fees or falling in to two grant categories. The bursary offers between £300 and £3,000 with the average lying at around £1,000, from the University or College in attendence.

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Discussion about “UNITE Survey Highlights Growing Student Debt”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Jan 17 2007 21:45

Well, I think this is ironic these figures are coming from UNITE given their accommodation is pretty shoddy (flat pack bedroom, paper-thin walls, anyone?) and super-over-priced.

Given that college subsidise those members of Imperial who reside in Orient House or Piccadilly Court (both UNITE owned housing), we get a pretty good deal out of it. However, these people still pay nearly as much as for a single room in Beit.

I would hate to be the student who didn't catch the Imperial subsidy and had to pay in the region of 160-GBP a week to live in one of their boxes. There is accommodation of better quality to be found much closer to college for that price.

Jan 18 2007 04:11

I lived in Orient last year. Aside from the fact i would prefer the 'corridor' layout of Beit to the 'Flat' layout of Orient, it wasn't that bad. We had more space in our rooms, a sitting room, a well equipped kitchen with ten times as much storage as Beit, a TV licence paid for, a double bed, a modern ensuite bathroom (although mine was plumbed back to front- haha!). I prefer beit for its character and friendliness but the quality of the accomodation at Orient (despite looking like a IKEA show room) is not to be underestimated. Sure a few things fell apart (our dvd player, lamp and kitchen sink) but they got fixed very quickly.

As I understood it, the subsidy for Orient and Piccadilly is more to do with the fact they are so far away and so students had to pay for travel in addition (which most other fresher's don't unless they are lazy).

UNITE has a reputation for being shockingly bad, which I wouldn't necessarily disagree with. However, my personal dissatisfaction with Halls was certianly not down to the accomodation provided. More to do with the spirit of the people there.

Jan 21 2007 23:31

My dear Kirsty, you're wrong about the subsidy. I lived in Intercollegiate halls in russell square and wasn't subsidised-i paid the same as people studying down the road at lse.

Jan 23 2007 04:06

That's why I specifically stated (and quote):

"the subsidy for Orient and Piccadilly is more to do with the fact they are so far away and so students had to pay for travel in addition"

I did not comment on Intercollegiate Halls (which are not managed by Imperial and are therefore a completely different kettle of fish).

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