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Halifax Student Survey reveals shocking extent of UK student debt

21 August 2007
The 2007 UK Student Finance Survey by Halifax, complied to show the spending habits and financial expectations of the UK student population, has revealed the worrying extent of the UK student debt.

The report suggests that UK students may have to spend a good proportion of their first salary paying of debts accrued throughout their studies. The average debt is around £7,500 but a third will have to repay amounts of up to £10,000.

Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of students (82%) are realistic when it comes to life after University with Scots being the most optimistic – only 24% believe they will leave their studies without debt compared to students in the North East - practically all of them (93%) expect to leave with some debt.

The survey which also looked at the three common forms of student debt; student loan, overdrafts and credit cards found that 83% of students surveyed have a student loan, 73% have overdrafts but less than half of students (43%) opt for credit cards.

Student expenditure was also researched with the data revealing that students spend the majority of their money on accommodation with those in the east having to shell out the most per week (£74.80), the cheapest area being Northern Ireland at a weekly cost of £34.50.

And when asked what salary they expected to earn in their first job after leaving university, most students stated that they expected to earn £18,790 a year on average with boys appearing more optimistic, expected to earn an average of £19,919, compared to just £17,893 for girls.

Just less than half (45%) of students expect to earn more than £20,000 in their first job. However 15% expect to be earning less than £290 per week (£15,000 per year).

Commenting, Sue Harper, head of Student Banking at Halifax, said:

"These results show just how much debt students are building up while studying. These are significant sums for anyone let alone someone who is not yet working full-time. Our advice to students is to budget carefully and to shop around for the best financial deals. The difference between the most generous interest-free overdrafts and the most expensive could be worth several hundred pounds over the course of your studies."

Learn more about student money and student debt management