More that half of UK students have debt fear

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With Freshers’ Week winding down for many students, thoughts will be turning to weightier matters - from tuition fees to textbooks, the cost of studying is leaving many scholars facing concerns over debt.

Indeed, new research from Mintel reveals that nearly three in five (57 per cent) of students in the UK are worried about the level of debt they will have when leaving university, rising to 63 per cent of women.

Indeed, three in 10 (30 per cent) students say they are worried about their level of debt at the moment, with those in their third year or above the most likely to be anxious about this (34 per cent).

While many face worries over debt alongside the stress of studying, the majority of students say they expect to give “credit” a miss after they finish their studies. Over three in four (77 per cent) say they intend to avoid using credit, such as overdrafts, credit cards or loans, when they leave university and nine in 10 (89 per cent) say they would prefer to save up to buy something expensive rather than borrow money from a bank to pay for it.

Rich Shepherd, Senior Financial Services Analyst at Mintel, said: “The high cost of tuition means that students who pay for their university courses with tuition fee loans and maintenance loans graduate with tens of thousands of pounds of debt before they even begin their careers.

“Incurring such high debts as standard, and at an early age, appears to make students wary of building up further debt in the future.”

Indeed, while the majority are worried about the level of debt they have, today’s students largely exhibit responsible traits in financial management. Nine in 10 (90 per cent) say they regularly check their bank balance, while 71 per cent say they always shop around for the best deals before taking out any financial product.

What’s more, many already are keen to prepare themselves financially for life after work. As many as 44 per cent of students say they plan to start saving for retirement as soon as they graduate or finish studying.

Currently, 68 per cent of students own a student current account with many interested in the perks which these can carry. Around half (51 per cent) looked for an account which offered a free railcard or other travel benefits, while 30 per cent looked for an account with a large overdraft facility.

Finally, the research reveals that a financially savvy 18 per cent of first year students have an ISA, rising to 34 per cent of students in their third year or above. On the other hand, just 8 per cent have home insurance.