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Day 3: Student debt

Student debt, leaving university early and feeling uncertain about the future. 

Student debt came up in almost all of the interviews we conducted, which is unsurprising when you consider the amount of debt young people are left with once they have graduated. Students on three year undergraduate courses taking out a full maintenance loan can find themselves in £53,000 of debt, plus interest, NUS have said. In addition, due to the way the debt is structured those from a lower-income background are worse off – since the interest rate grows over time, those who can pay it off early get a better deal.

In the interview above, Lauren talks about her feelings of being “pushed” down the route of doing Law and once she decided to leave felt a lot of pressure not to do so from the university. In 2015, research was published and found that the UK has proportionally more graduates than any other rich country excluding Iceland. The research also shows that the UK proportionally is very high up the list in having over qualified workers in low skilled jobs - was the pressure that was put on Lauren justified if the graduate jobs aren’t there at the end of the course?

Research carried out by Aviva showed that 37% of millennials regretted going to university due to their debt and 49% felt they could be doing as well as they are now if they had not attended university. These results came from two surveys of around 2000 people across England. So we know Lauren isn’t alone in her uncertainty in high education, but we know more young people are choosing to go to university, suspending their worries about debt because they know the labour market is only getting harsher. We have a generation that is aware of the challenges ahead, but are working hard to overcome them – we need a government that are willing to at least meet them half way.