Skint students struggle to complete degrees and many consider dropping out due to money worries

Research finds that cash-strapped students often consider dropping out because of cashflow issues

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A third of students have thought about dropping out of uni because doing a degree is costing them so much cash.

The research, carried out by the NUS, found general living expenses are “pushing many students to the brink of dropping out.”

And despite the news that up to three quarters of students will never have to pay back their tuition fees, the majority of students say they are worried about meeting general living expenses.

A visual representation of what a graduation might look like

In the UK, student finance support varies depending on your country of birth, Scottish born students are not required to pay anything providing they study in Scotland, those born in Wales receive tuition grants of up to £5500 and all students born in England are entitled to a loan which fully covers their tuition fees.

Regardless of where you are born however, it is a common necessity for students to take up jobs alongside their degree in order to pay for living essentials such as rent, heating and food.


Popular jobs for students such as bartending in nightclubs can mean that they are forced to balance university work with long shifts which often extend into the early hours of the morning and disrupt their education.

Alex, an English student studying in Wales, worked between 25 and 30 hours a week at a nightclub until recently. She told Wales Online “The student finance we receive isn’t enough to live [on].”

She comes from a single parent home with her mother who is unable to provide the required financial support. “With student finance you’re living on £7,000 a year, which when you take out rent is not a lot.”

Students are often forced into jobs which allow them less time to focus on the important things like uni work or drinking

The NUS findings have also shown that around one third of students were concerned that their ability to concentrate on academic work has been hampered by their financial worries.

A Tab journalist has previously suggested that student loans should be a national benefit which would certainly take some of  the financial stress away.

It was hoped that the rise in tuition fees would lower student drop out rates across the country, as those who apply would give greater consideration to whether they actually wanted to study a particular subject.

Uni can be a strain on the wallet

Figures from the Telegraph reported a dropout rate increase from 28,210 (2010-2011) to 31,755 (2011-2012) – the final year before tuition fees were increased.

The general secretary of the University and College Union believes such figures show that “too many students” from “disadvantaged backgrounds” are failing to complete their degrees.

With the release of this latest report by the NUS, there is a suggestion that those who already struggle to sustain their personal finances will not find university any easier to cope with. If financial factors can drive a student to consider quitting their degree, it is likely that these factors are beyond the student’s control and so dropout rates seem unlikely to decrease any time soon.