In recent years, financial issues have plagued many people in the UK, leading to a surge in the amount of debt-ridden homeowners and businesses facing bankruptcy. At one time, the Exeter postcode EX6 was one of the top ten most debt-ridden postcodes in the UK, according to research by the Telegraph. Unfortunately, this difficult reality also affects many students, who are equally struggling to find the means of debt management.
It is a well-known fact that the cost of attending university in the UK is steep, as the combination of fees and the price of living increase annually. In some cases, students can leave university with nearly £20,000 in debt as a result of needing to take loans to cover heightened tuition fees. Debt management is therefore a crucial issue affecting students today—and can lead to troubling mental health issues as well.
Recent findings in student financial survey
Research by the NUS Insight on behalf of Future Finance surveyed 2,000 university students in the UK to determine their financial situations and resulting anxieties. The research found that more than a third of students designate their financial anxieties as a factor in their poor mental health. 38% of female students and 33% of male students admitted to dealing with acute financial worries while attending university.
Furthermore, 34% of students admitted to selling their personal belongings in an attempt to raise money. Many other students have considered other unconventional sources of income to repair their financial strains. As a result of this survey, chief executive of Future Finance Brian Norton claimed that the findings were shocking, and can be partially attributed to extortionate rates imposed on students by payday loans and credit cards.
Assistive financial and health resources for students
Shocking or not, a solution needs to be sought for this issue for the good of students’ mental health and their ability to achieve whilst working towards a degree. At the University of Exeter, students can contact the Mental Health Pathway team to garner advice and support for their financial stressors. Other universities in the UK also offer similar on-campus organisations that can provide assistance in hopes of relieving students of their struggles in mental heath as a result of financial and other pressures.
Students can also consult their university’s financial office to inquire about aid opportunities, like scholarships and grants, and to seek a management plan for their fees. By being proactive about finances, students may be able to handle the situation in a more direct and less stressful way. It may be wise for students to seek any on-campus employment opportunities to ease the burden of fees, along with other options for making money that do not take away from their student experience.
Since the reality for university students in the UK is one that imposes problematic financial issues in terms of fees and living costs, it is important that students are aware of the state of their mental health as a result of financial pressures and seek out plans to manage their costs in a constructive manner.