NSMS 2019: ‘More students than ever before are struggling to make ends meet’

Editor | Svilena Iotkovska

This year’s National Student Money Survey (NSMS) results have revealed a 4.8% increase in student spending from 2018 as the average cost of living was found to be £807 per month.

Average costs of living across the UK
(Source: NSMS)

3,385 students have taken part in the 2019 NSMS and the statistics following the survey have shown that 79% of students say they worry about making ends meet. The financial stress and money related worries consequently have serious, detrimental effects on one’s mental health, sleep, diet, grades and social life. 79% of students say that their social life has suffered as one usually tends to cut back on socialising when struggling financially; however, feeling isolated and lonely can cause even greater harm to one’s wellbeing as these emotions have a negative effect on mental health. In fact, statistics show that 57% of students say their mental health has suffered as a consequence of financial worries – it is alarming that this percentage has risen 11%.

NSMS statistics
(Source: NSMS)

Is the Maintenance Loan enough?

Source: NSMS

The maintenance loan was designed to help students financially; however, a striking 62% of students claim that the maintenance loan is insufficient. With an average cost of living at £807 per month, the maintenance loan of £540 is far from enough. Hence, the result is a £267 monthly shortfall which students must struggle to overcome on their own.

After my rent went out, I had roughly £5 to live off.

Any student who says they can’t live off their loan is lying in my opinion – it’s all about knowing how to budget and save money.

Above are given two anonymous students’ opposing views on the issue at hand and the second statement invites questions regarding budgeting and students’ financial education. The NSMS findings have shown that 1 in 6 students have never budgeted and that a staggering 77% start university without having any prior financial education.

So, where do students get their money from and how do they overcome the aforementioned £267 monthly shortfall?

Sources of finance
(Source: NSMS)

Although the top two sources of finance are shown to be the maintenance loan (at 74%) and parents (at 73%), students also work hard to overcome the monthly shortfall as 67% (two-thirds) of students work part-time jobs. Of course, working alongside your studies can have a detrimental effect on one’s grades and over half of the students say their grades have suffered as a result.

It is noteworthy that fewer students are relying on the top three sources of finance as there is a rise in the percentage of students turning to credit cards, overdrafts, private loans, adult work and gambling. Around 4% of students (doubled since 2017) have turned to adult work in order to increase their finances and although it might not seem like a large percentage, NSMS claims that it could represent as many as 70,000 students.

Adult work that student have turned to.
(Source: NSMS)

Furthermore, when asked where students would turn to if they needed money in an emergency, a further 6% said they would engage in adult work.

Students’ emergency sources of finance
(Source: NSMS)

The NSMS further revealed that an alarming 43% of students felt that they were not made aware of funding opportunities which they may have been entitled to; for this reason, it is of great importance that you always check whether or not you are eligible for a student grant.

This year we’ve seen a shocking jump in the number of students suffering from the stresses of rising living costs, especially surrounding mental health, socialising and academic performance.

Our findings reveal that current maintenance loan allowances fall woefully short of reality. In too many cases students are forced to desperate measures in order to simply continue their studies.

Jake Butler, Save the Student’s money expert

For more information on statistics, findings and quotes regarding student finances visit NSMS.

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