Working class students assume highest levels of debt

19 November 2003
Working class university students have some of the highest debts among their peers at the time of graduation, according to government research.

The DfES survey, undertaken by South Bank University academics and the Policy Studies Institute, found that some of the poorest students leave university with average debts of over £10,000, despite budgeting and taking on part time work.

The survey found students whose parents had incomes of less than £20,480 a year had average debts of £9,708. Half owed £10,392 on average.

Students whose parents earned more than £30,502 and consequently paid tuition fees in full had debts averaging £6,806.

The study comes as the Government presses on with plans to allow top ranking universities to increase the level of tuition fees to as much as £3,000-a-year.

The report concluded that students from "lower income backgrounds" were more likely to fall into debt and anticipated leaving university with the largest debts.

But a DfES spokesman said low income students would benefit from the reintroduction of grants worth up to £1,000 annually from next year.