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Social Research

Student income and expenditure survey

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  • Release date: 9 April 2014
  • Period covered: 2011/12
A report showing data for earnings from work, income from family and friends, student spending, savings, borrowing and debts.

Key points

  • Full-time student income during the academic year fell by 15 per cent in real terms between 2007/08 and 2011/12.
  • Average total income for all full-time students was £10,730 and £11,555 for all part-time students.
  • Income from state funded sources of student support has broadly kept pace with inflation and remained stable over time.
  • Income from paid work and family accounts for a lower proportion of income over time, increasing the importance of state financial support for full-time students.
  • A greater proportion (39 per cent) of part-time students said that the availability of funding and financial support had affected their decisions about higher educationin some way. A substantial increase from those affected in 2007/08.
  • The average total expenditure (including tuition fee) for full-time students was £13,591 and £18,236 for part-time students. Full-time students were spending proportionally more over time on housing and participation costs.
  • ‘Net debt’ levels (i.e. borrowings less savings) among comparable students have increased since the previous survey. For full-time students this has been driven by an increase in borrowings.
  • There was no significant difference in the level of full-time student income or spending between Welsh and English-domiciled students.
  • Welsh part-time students average income was considerably lower than those of English-domiciled part-time students.
  • Both Welsh-domiciled full-time and part-time students earned considerably less than their English counterparts.


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