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Students 'Struggling With Debt'

Oct 29, 2007
Students are increasingly developing difficulties in handling their money, new research shows.

In a recent survey of university attendees conducted by Equifax, almost half (44 per cent) of respondents are spending more than 300 pounds every month on living expenses, with this figure not including rent costs. However, with more than one in five (22 per cent) being unaware what their total expenditure accounted for until they have recieved their monthly credit cards and bank statements, continuing such a habit may see these people developing problems in making repayments on personal loans and credit cards in later life.

Financial difficulties could become even more pronounced for the 36 per cent of those attending university who have less than 1,000 pounds saved before starting higher education.

Commenting on the figures, Neil Munroe, external affairs director for Equifax, said: "It is expected that more than 400,000 students will start university this autumn. However, the cost of pursuing a degree continues to rise, with our survey showing that students really struggle with debt on a day-to-day basis. Worryingly, 40 per cent claimed to hide debt from parents and partners, but burying their head in the sand won't help. It is probably more important for students, than almost any other sector of society, to be proactive when it comes to dealing with their finances."

In addition, the company reported the average student starting a three-year undergradute course this autumn could be some 30,000 pounds in debt by the time they graduate in 2010. Over this period, the typical student will spend between 39,000 and 45,000 pounds.

"Young people shouldn't miss out on the opportunity to go to university because of the cost. But it means they have to be more financially savvy than ever. With a little preparation and careful budgeting, students can avoid getting into financial difficulty, securing the future of their finances as well as their education," Mr Munroe added.

He also asserted that unless young people are able to get their capacity for money management "on an even-keel at this stage of their life, they could well be catching up for a very long time" Consequently, to avoid developing an untenable debt situation both while they are in education and post-graduation, the firm urged that students should draw up a budget tracking their incomings and expenditure. By having a set idea of how much expenses such as tuition fees, living costs and transport will see them back, Equifax reported that people should be able to get a better grip on their spending.

In addition, those who choose to borrow money, whether this be through plastic cards or personal loans, were advised to make sure they keep up with demands for payment. Should they not do so however, the company warned that borrowers could discover that their financial history is damaged, so reducing their access to cheap loans in the future. Equifax pointed out that many students who use credit cards to fund their spending "end up paying thousands in interest and late payments". However, those who find that they are becoming unable to manage their finances were advised to seek guidance from a professional advisory service or their university's student welfare officer.

Such sentiments were echoed earlier this year by Joanne Gill, head of marketing at Chiltern Debt Management. She claimed that those people who seek advice on managing their personal loans and other types of debts are often treated "sympathetically and positively". Meanwhile, should consumers still find that they are struggling to meet various demands on their finances after graduating, applying for debt consolidation loans could well be an advisable move. Doing so could see borrowers consolidate numerous debts into a single low-rate repayment.
About the Author
Abbi Rouse writes for All About Loans where visitors can apply for a loanonline and also focuses on bad credit loans , and debt consolidation loans for UK Homeowners.
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