Survey: 3 in 4 UK University Students Work to Cover Living Costs


A survey comissioned by Endsleigh Insurance and carried out by the British National Union of Students reveals that the number of UK students who work to fund their studies has risen sharply in just one year. In 2014 almost 6 in 10 (59%) students were working compared to almost 8 in 10 (77%) students in 2015.

The NUS study reveals that 53% of the 4,642 students surveyed said they depend on their parents for financial support while 74% rely on student loans as their primary source of cash through university.

The increase in the number of students in paid work hasn’t reduced the number of students who depend on other sources of income, the study reveals. The Financial Times say this is indicative that the rise of working students is the result of a sharp increase in living costs.

According to Endsleigh’s survey, 57% of UK-based university students take on jobs during their studies in order to pay for bills, accommodation and other living costs. More than half of the surveyed students (56%) say they are working to have extra money to spend on social activities.

About 87% of those with a paid job say that combining work and study is a chance for them to develop extra skills and enrich their CV with more work experience.

“Unexpected costs at university mean that many [students] are looking for jobs to help ends meet,” Sara Newell, manager of student and graduate markets at Endsleigh said. “However . . . a considerable number of students are also looking to bulk up their CVs to enhance their future job prospects.”

The survey reveals that 14% of the students have full-time jobs. During term-time, 63% of respondents were engaged in part-time employment. Almost half the respondents said that they resorted to using their overdraft to cope with their living costs and other university expenses.

Annual living costs in the UK, outside of London, consist of almost £5,000 (£4,989) for rent, £1,954 for food, £363 for household products, about £2,000 for personal items, £1,705 for travel and £1,190 for leisure, amounting to $12,610 per year on for living costs, according to the National Union of Students.

On top of these living costs, students in England have to pay up to £9,000 per year in tuition. Students in Welsh universities have an annual tuition fee cap of £3,810.

According to the study, students working during term time earn an average of £412 a month. Male students earn £522 compared to £334 for female students, the survey showed.

Previous NUS reports showed that working while studying can be beneficial for students, but that certain jobs make it hard for students to balance work and academic life, especially when work is during unsocial hours.