Student financial capability research

To understand the financial pressures facing students we partnered with the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA)opens in new window to commission a unique survey of the UK student population. This research, conducted with 5,118 full-time undergraduate students, examines the student experience of money at university or college.

Higher-education students and money

Our briefing note on the findings shows there are reasons to be positive:

  • Most students feel confident managing their money and pay attention to their finances. For example, three-quarters check their bank balance at least once a week.
  • Students are not afraid to ask for help or seek guidance when needed.

However, there is still significant cause for concern:

  • Over 431,000 students are finding keeping up with their study costs, including course materials, travel costs and accommodation, a ‘heavy burden’.
  • One in five find themselves frequently overdrawn and of those, 40% have gone over their overdraft limit or used an unauthorised overdraft.

Student segmentation tool

Using the data, we commissioned a segmentation of the UK’s student population. This identified five groups of students with different money situations and ways of coping.

Supported and Sensible

  • Cushioned by their family’s money, leaving them comfortably off.
  • They have the highest savings, and are unlikely to be in debt.

Confident and Thrifty

  • They budget well and their money saving skills mean that they have managed to save.
  • Comfortable, but need to stay on top of their money to keep this stability.

Inexperienced and at Risk

  • Don’t have to pay household bills but are still struggling to save.
  • Unaware of their financial situation and have no provisions for income shocks.

Anxious but Spending

  • May come from a comfortable background but their university life is likely to feel more squeezed.
  • Struggle to repay debts, leaving them strapped for cash.

Disengaged and Overwhelmed

  • Deep in debt and taking out payday loans and unauthorised overdrafts to get by.
  • Don’t see the value in saving and budgeting, or why they should do it.

The research contains additional analysis of the UK student population according to nation, university group, course year and demographic factors.