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Social Research

Student income and expenditure survey

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  • Release date: 28 March 2018
  • Period covered: 2014/15
A report showing data for earnings from work, income from family and friends, student spending, savings, borrowing and debts.

This final version includes comparisons between the financial position of Welsh-domiciled and English-domiciled students.

Key points

Full time students

  • Average estimated income was just over £16,300, an increase of 43 percent compared to 2011/12, reflecting the expansion of the student support package to fund the higher fee regime introduced in 2012.
  • Over half received a Welsh Government Learning Grant or Special Support Grant, and more did paid work during term time than in 2011/12.
  • Family contributions made up a much lower proportion of income  compared with the last survey.
  • Average expenditure was just over  £18,800 and had increased by 34 per cent since 2011/12. Participation costs had more than doubled.
  • Total borrowing averaged just under £7,300 following the first year, just below £15,000 following the second year and just over £19,000 following the third year.
  • Whilst the use of commercial credit  and arrears increased, although overall borrowing did not change between 2011/12 and 2014/15.
  • Due to the Tuition Fee Grant, Welsh-domiciled full-time third year students had lower net debt (borrowing less savings – average £16,500) than English-domiciled students (whose net debt averaged £28,500).

Part-time students

  • Average estimated income, at just below £14,000, had also increased since the last survey, but this margin of increase was less than for full-timers, and meant that unlike in 2011/12, part-timers’ income was lower than full-timers’. 
  • Most part-time students were in continuous paid work and most received social security benefits.
  • First year students predicted they would end the year with just under £7,700 of borrowing. Those in their third and higher years of study predicted total borrowing of under £2,900.  This borrowing included a substantial component of commercial debt, reliance on which had increased since the 2011/12 survey.
An infographic sets out some headline results. A detailed technical report will shortly be available in the UK Data Archive.


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