Have your say: More than one in five university students work two jobs while studying Watch

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Makes me wonder if I should stop wasting my free time...
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SarcAndSpark
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I'd be more interested to know the number of hours worked. Nominally, you could say there were points during university when I had 2 jobs, but one of them was temping during the holidays, and one of them was freelance proofreading so I could control my workload during term time. This was great for the extra cash, but I wasn't exactly overburdened with work. Equally, I knew some people who only had one job, but worked nearly full time hours- which is much more of a problem!

"When asked if financial stress had ever caused them to consider dropping out of university, a quarter of respondents said it had." This quote is much more worrying than the headline to me!
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Acsel
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Kind of begs the question of how many students just blindly go to uni nowadays without considering if they can reasonably support themselves. It feels like almost every case is either totally avoidable or could at least be not this bad.

That said students aren't known for being great at managing money, as is to be expected with a lack of experience. But it does make you wonder how many of the students working one or two jobs got themselves into that situation by spending all their loan on things they didn't need (nights out, partying, etc.).

Rather than work multiple jobs at uni, take a gap year, find a part time job and earn some money that way. It'll alleviate the financial stress at uni, make you a generally more mature person, look better on a CV, etc.
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(Original post by Acsel)
Kind of begs the question of how many students just blindly go to uni nowadays without considering if they can reasonably support themselves. It feels like almost every case is either totally avoidable or could at least be not this bad.

That said students aren't known for being great at managing money, as is to be expected with a lack of experience. But it does make you wonder how many of the students working one or two jobs got themselves into that situation by spending all their loan on things they didn't need (nights out, partying, etc.).

Rather than work multiple jobs at uni, take a gap year, find a part time job and earn some money that way. It'll alleviate the financial stress at uni, make you a generally more mature person, look better on a CV, etc.
I agree that students aren't known for being great at managing money, but I don't think it's fair to dump all the blame for this in the lap of students.

I also think there is a place to have a conversation about the affordability of university owned accommodation, for example.

There's also a discussion to be had about whether it's fair to means test student loans based on household income, on the assumption that parents can and will support their adult children. This isn't always the case, and it can put some students in a very vulnerable position.

I agree that there are options, and taking a gap year and saving up can work very well for some people, but this does rely on a few things e.g. availability of jobs in the area where the student lives (not a given), ability of the student's family to support them at home, allowing them to save a good proportion of their wage, applying to a course that allows gap years (some maths courses aren't keen on this) and so on.

I disagree totally that this is avoidable for all/most students, and affordability often puts students from low income backgrounds off certain unis (e.g. in London)- I don't think that's ok.

Also, planning to support yourself via a part time job or working in the holidays can be a totally viable option- it doesn't always have to interfere with your studies and can equally look good on a CV.
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Acsel
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I agree that students aren't known for being great at managing money, but I don't think it's fair to dump all the blame for this in the lap of students.
PRSOM

True, although ultimately in most scenarios the student is responsible for their actions. There are obvious issues elsewhere, but at the end of the day the one who suffers is the student themselves.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I also think there is a place to have a conversation about the affordability of university owned accommodation, for example.
I think this one depends where you live. I can't personally say I have any complaints about the affordability of my first year uni halls. They might not have been perfect and they were more expensive than my private housing. But then I got an en suite, constantly manned front desk, cleaners in the flat every 2 weeks and generally around the building, common areas, and effectively unlimited utilities. I can't speak for elsewhere but all things considered the actual cost of my halls was pretty reasonable. Also of note, the cost of accommodation is pretty up front. If nothing else, a student will know how much their halls cost and whether they can afford it.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
There's also a discussion to be had about whether it's fair to means test student loans based on household income, on the assumption that parents can and will support their adult children. This isn't always the case, and it can put some students in a very vulnerable position.
I've had this discussion countless times. The tl:dr is that IMO it isn't perfect but it's one of the better systems and works in most scenarios. But again this comes back to planning. Parents earn too much but won't support you, resulting in lower loan and less money? Don't rush off to uni when it's obvious you won't be able to afford it. Take responsibility and determine if you can afford uni before you actually go, regardless of any personal circumstances.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I agree that there are options, and taking a gap year and saving up can work very well for some people, but this does rely on a few things e.g. availability of jobs in the area where the student lives (not a given), ability of the student's family to support them at home, allowing them to save a good proportion of their wage, applying to a course that allows gap years (some maths courses aren't keen on this) and so on.
Of course, it's not necessarily an answer for everyone. But if more than 1 in 5 students are working multiple jobs, I'd wager it's an option for some of them. Beyond that, if students are working multiple jobs to fund nights out (31%) and other non-essentials, it seems like the scenario is either self inflicted and/or totally voluntary for some.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I disagree totally that this is avoidable for all/most students, and affordability often puts students from low income backgrounds off certain unis (e.g. in London)- I don't think that's ok.
I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Not all unis are an option for everyone. London's high costs can be off putting for anyone, not just students so that's a bit of an outlier (and is reflected in the marginal extra support).

I'm also unsure how someone from a low income background would be put off London. They're the ones best suited to live in the more expensive London, since they're the ones that'll get maximum loan. If anything it'd be the students from higher income backgrounds (in particular the handful not receiving support) who would be put off due to the bigger disparity between what they get and what they need to pay.

I'll note that when I say this is avoidable for most students, I mean the aspect of working 2 or more jobs. Even if you only alleviate things to working one job. I completely appreciate that for many there's a need to make ends meet when the loan won't cut it. I'm just saying for most people it doesn't have to get this bad. The average salary of £350 a month is around a third what someone would earn in a full time minimum wage job. 3 months of that over summer would set you up for the next academic year. A gap year would likely sort you for your entire degree.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Also, planning to support yourself via a part time job or working in the holidays can be a totally viable option- it doesn't always have to interfere with your studies and can equally look good on a CV.
Agreed, this is also a totally valid approach. Hell it's perfectly possible in some cases to still have a part time job while studying. It doesn't have to interfere.
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Notoriety
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If a student is paid to be tour guide round uni once a year, and works approx. 8 hours a week in the SU bar, does that student really have 2 jobs?
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
There's also a discussion to be had about whether it's fair to means test student loans based on household income, on the assumption that parents can and will support their adult children. This isn't always the case, and it can put some students in a very vulnerable position.
Exactly. It's not fair at all. Am in this situation and am squeeking by, can't even get a summer job because despite applying for must be going on hundreds now over the years I've yet to be successful in applying. It's who you know, people only get jobs in menial mimunum wage stuff because their uncle Bob's sister Sally's daughter works there
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Acsel)
PRSOM

True, although ultimately in most scenarios the student is responsible for their actions. There are obvious issues elsewhere, but at the end of the day the one who suffers is the student themselves.



I think this one depends where you live. I can't personally say I have any complaints about the affordability of my first year uni halls. They might not have been perfect and they were more expensive than my private housing. But then I got an en suite, constantly manned front desk, cleaners in the flat every 2 weeks and generally around the building, common areas, and effectively unlimited utilities. I can't speak for elsewhere but all things considered the actual cost of my halls was pretty reasonable. Also of note, the cost of accommodation is pretty up front. If nothing else, a student will know how much their halls cost and whether they can afford it.

I agree it depends on where you live, and some halls are great value, especially when you consider all that's included. However, equally there are some unis where even the cheapest halls are pretty expensive- e.g. Bristol at £4.7k, Kings is something like £7k (although there are cheaper intercollegiate halls). At Bristol as well, the cheaper halls all have very limited spaces and you can end up being allocated more expensive halls. Obviously they're in more expensive cities, but I don't think the rental rates of uni halls should be set by market rent, and I don't think uni choice should be influenced too much by affordability.

The cost of halls has also been steadily increasing due partly to uni funding issues, but that's probably a separate debate.

I've had this discussion countless times. The tl:dr is that IMO it isn't perfect but it's one of the better systems and works in most scenarios. But again this comes back to planning. Parents earn too much but won't support you, resulting in lower loan and less money? Don't rush off to uni when it's obvious you won't be able to afford it. Take responsibility and determine if you can afford uni before you actually go, regardless of any personal circumstances.

If you have the sort of parents who won't support you at uni, you may also have very real reasons for wanting to leave home ASAP. This sort of situation is often caused by a high earning step-parent living in the home, and the 18yo may be feeling very pushed out. Personally, I prefer the previous system where everyone got roughly the same amount, and parental income just influenced how much was grant vs how much was debt- or even better, treat 18yos like adults and allow them to be responsible for their own finances. Not means testing would also save SFE a lot of money.

Of course, it's not necessarily an answer for everyone. But if more than 1 in 5 students are working multiple jobs, I'd wager it's an option for some of them. Beyond that, if students are working multiple jobs to fund nights out (31%) and other non-essentials, it seems like the scenario is either self inflicted and/or totally voluntary for some.

And if it's voluntary or to fund a social life, that's totally their choice. Two jobs can mean lots of things, and many not be that many hours a week. Many students will do a little bit of club promotion, for example, to help fund their nights out and get free entry/drinks etc. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with this!

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Not all unis are an option for everyone. London's high costs can be off putting for anyone, not just students so that's a bit of an outlier (and is reflected in the marginal extra support).

I'm also unsure how someone from a low income background would be put off London. They're the ones best suited to live in the more expensive London, since they're the ones that'll get maximum loan. If anything it'd be the students from higher income backgrounds (in particular the handful not receiving support) who would be put off due to the bigger disparity between what they get and what they need to pay.

This is absolutely a thing- the maximum London loan does make living in the capital a struggle. Students are also put off by high headline halls costs/rents, and may not be aware of potential cheaper options. I think it's fairly well acknowledged that most students from lower income backgrounds who go to London unis live at home and commute, and students from low income backgrounds are more likely to be put off a uni choice because of costs. Now, you may not think this is a problem, but for me, being able to go to a uni (and a top uni) is a big driver of social mobility, so I think it is a problem.

I'll note that when I say this is avoidable for most students, I mean the aspect of working 2 or more jobs. Even if you only alleviate things to working one job. I completely appreciate that for many there's a need to make ends meet when the loan won't cut it. I'm just saying for most people it doesn't have to get this bad. The average salary of £350 a month is around a third what someone would earn in a full time minimum wage job. 3 months of that over summer would set you up for the next academic year. A gap year would likely sort you for your entire degree.

I agree that it is probably avoidable with a bit more planning- and I agree that summer working can be a great way to fund your degree. I know a lot of people who did that, coming from somewhere where temp summer jobs that pay reasonably well are easy to get- but if these students also have a small term time job then they probably come into the category of students who have two jobs, depending on how this is measured.

Agreed, this is also a totally valid approach. Hell it's perfectly possible in some cases to still have a part time job while studying. It doesn't have to interfere.
Comments in bold as I can't do the fancy multiple quote thing. FWIW, I don't disagree with you that this might be avoidable for some students and that most students cope pretty well at uni in terms of finances- however, I think putting all the blame on students isn't fair, and I definitely don't think it's ok that someone should have less uni choices than others based on their family circumstances.

(Original post by Notoriety)
If a student is paid to be tour guide round uni once a year, and works approx. 8 hours a week in the SU bar, does that student really have 2 jobs?
This as well though- based on the £350 figure, it doesn't sound like most of these students are working lots of hours- I think hours worked in term time would be a much more useful statistic- but that probably doesn't make such a good headline.
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Acsel
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Obviously they're in more expensive cities, but I don't think the rental rates of uni halls should be set by market rent, and I don't think uni choice should be influenced too much by affordability.

The cost of halls has also been steadily increasing due partly to uni funding issues, but that's probably a separate debate.
That isn't really something that can be controlled though. If rate rents are high that's usually for a reason. Not strictly a matter of following market value. And when it comes to private accommodation, if it were offered drastically below market value to make it affordable for students, it's highly likely non-students would be inclined to snap it up. Even if you could take the accommodation costs out of the equation, some places are just more expensive to live. This is a very real world issue, people move houses because they can't afford to live in a certain area.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
If you have the sort of parents who won't support you at uni, you may also have very real reasons for wanting to leave home ASAP. This sort of situation is often caused by a high earning step-parent living in the home, and the 18yo may be feeling very pushed out. Personally, I prefer the previous system where everyone got roughly the same amount, and parental income just influenced how much was grant vs how much was debt- or even better, treat 18yos like adults and allow them to be responsible for their own finances. Not means testing would also save SFE a lot of money.
The problem here is if you just give everyone roughly the same amount and aim for a higher amount that works for everyone, that just increases the amount of loans, and therefore the amount of debt. I don't imagine removing the means testing (or bringing back grants) would save money. The only way it would save money is if we were given less, or it actually got paid back at a more reasonable rate.

There are an awful lot of people in unfortunate positions, but that doesn't necessarily make uni the best option. If someone feels forced to move out, but uni isn't a good financial option then they may be better off looking for an alternative. There's nothing wrong with spending 5-10 years working and then going to uni.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
And if it's voluntary or to fund a social life, that's totally their choice. Two jobs can mean lots of things, and many not be that many hours a week. Many students will do a little bit of club promotion, for example, to help fund their nights out and get free entry/drinks etc. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with this!
Agreed. The article makes it sound like every student is doing this just to get by. I have zero sympathy for someone who burned through their money and is working 2 jobs to afford their weekly drinking habits. Not to mention £350 is pretty paltry for 2 jobs, and I earned similar to that working 12 hours a week in retail while at college. 12 hours over 2 jobs is hardly ground breaking and realistically balancing that and studies isn't an issue.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I agree that it is probably avoidable with a bit more planning- and I agree that summer working can be a great way to fund your degree. I know a lot of people who did that, coming from somewhere where temp summer jobs that pay reasonably well are easy to get- but if these students also have a small term time job then they probably come into the category of students who have two jobs, depending on how this is measured.
I think we'd agree at this point that the problem here is with the article, and how/what is being measured. 2 jobs could mean anything and £350 isn't really that much for 2 jobs. I personally "technically" had 2 jobs at uni, I worked super part time (as and when) for the uni as an ambassador then went back to my retail job over summer. In terms of what can and can't be avoided, it'd be better to look at this on a case by case basis.

(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
FWIW, I don't disagree with you that this might be avoidable for some students and that most students cope pretty well at uni in terms of finances- however, I think putting all the blame on students isn't fair, and I definitely don't think it's ok that someone should have less uni choices than others based on their family circumstances.
I issue I see with this is that not all families are equal. Not just for uni, but all through life, your circumstances will dictate things. That's just how the world works. There is of course the other end of this, if bad circumstances remove choice then good circumstances create it. There's inequality regardless, because we are not all equal.

For most people, I don't think family circumstances play that big of a big role. But equally my above comment is somewhat over generalised. I come from "negative circumstances", in that one of my parents passed away when I was 8. As unfortunate as that is, it's opened a lot of doors. I'm from a low income family which means I get a high loan. In tandem with living in a cheap part of the country, and additional financial aid as a result of my circumstances, I'm doing alright. But I also sought out my own support. I worked part time and went to uni with a few grand in the bank (alongside a car). I'm currently on a year long placement earning ~£20K with only ~£200 expenditure a month. And a few other things. So my financial situation is a mix of both my negative family circumstances and the things I have personally done to help myself. And this is where a lot of people I see fall down. They just don't do anything regardless of circumstances, instead relying solely on a loan, hoping it'll last.

Quite simply what I'd want to see is people just generally taking more responsibility for themselves, not relying exclusively on a loan.
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Whsts meant by hidden fees at university ? What kind ? ( going uni in Sept and from poor background)
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really shows that people care more about money than the welfare of others I mean correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't university once free
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candokoala
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They may not apply to you and your course, but include things like transport to and from placements, course materials, uniforms/laundry (medics/nurses) and mandatory field trips.

Read our article on them here: Working class students turn to loan sharks due to hidden fees says NUS
(Original post by Anonymous)
Whsts meant by hidden fees at university ? What kind ? ( going uni in Sept and from poor background)
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Acsel
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(Original post by Anonymous)
really shows that people care more about money than the welfare of others I mean correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't university once free
University has never been free. No education is free. You might not be paying for it directly, but the money has to come from somewhere.
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I'd be interested to know hours/details too. There were times at uni where on paper technically I had 4 paid jobs and 3+ volunteer roles at the same time... but I wasn't putting in the hours someone with 1 job might have been doing and so don't really count it. And I didn't really need to work - I could have got by on my student finance/bursaries, but I wanted to work and save up etc. And had the time to do it.

Acsel - agree with the points you've made, and it's definitely worrying 39% said they worked 2 jobs to pay rent/bills. But it's a pretty small sample. There's probably lots of students who have multiple jobs but either aren't working many hours, or are doing so more for experience etc. rather than out of financial stress.
(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I'd be more interested to know the number of hours worked. Nominally, you could say there were points during university when I had 2 jobs, but one of them was temping during the holidays, and one of them was freelance proofreading so I could control my workload during term time. This was great for the extra cash, but I wasn't exactly overburdened with work.
(Original post by Acsel)
Rather than work multiple jobs at uni, take a gap year, find a part time job and earn some money that way. It'll alleviate the financial stress at uni, make you a generally more mature person, look better on a CV, etc.
(Original post by Notoriety)
If a student is paid to be tour guide round uni once a year, and works approx. 8 hours a week in the SU bar, does that student really have 2 jobs?
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(Original post by Acsel)
Kind of begs the question of how many students just blindly go to uni nowadays without considering if they can reasonably support themselves. It feels like almost every case is either totally avoidable or could at least be not this bad.

That said students aren't known for being great at managing money, as is to be expected with a lack of experience. But it does make you wonder how many of the students working one or two jobs got themselves into that situation by spending all their loan on things they didn't need (nights out, partying, etc.).

Rather than work multiple jobs at uni, take a gap year, find a part time job and earn some money that way. It'll alleviate the financial stress at uni, make you a generally more mature person, look better on a CV, etc.
I work 2+ jobs just to make ends meet because despite the fact that my parents earn lots, I get minimum loan and they don't have any way to support me because they have 2 other kids, a mortgage, bills, debts and one is now redundant so saving in case of not getting a new job. I can't even pay rent on my loan in a cheap city! But I need to study, it's the only way to get the job and career I want and a gap year wasn't an option as I had no where to really stay back home and no job prospects where I come from, so uni it was and here I'll stay working 30+ hours a week on top of a degree whilst others get all the money they need and buy a new iphone every term (like my old housemate!)
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Wow meanwhile i'm struggling with juggling zero jobs
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Had 3 jobs in my 2nd year (some freelance stuff, though), was in 4 societies and at the end of the year, I got 7/8 1st Class grades, with marks up to 85. It's totally possible with good time management skills, but be prepared for some late nights and stress. I had to give up 2 of the societies for the second half of the year, but I had a perfectly good social life as well.
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The issue of working as a student is complex some parents refuse to pay for thier child and expect taxpayers to pay, which can go either way but means the child has to pay

Also I remember at university people wanted a certain lifestyle i.e a lot of partying, a good phone, nice accomodation and it was common for people to just get loads of loans and credit cards as they outright said they can worry in their 30's

With the stats given how many were due to parents refusing to support them? Students own lifestyle? etc.

On a seperate note over the years where I have lived has got rid of cheap HMO's and replaced them with much higher student rents i'm talking the SAME properties i.e what went for say £50 before would now be £70-£90 and student only and near zero properties for non students apart from flats and you need to work to get them on top of that!

Seen student lets for £120-£200 in certain towns when you can get a HMO for £70-£100
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