Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Degree 'to cost students £25,000'

Students starting university will graduate with almost 25,000 pounds worth of debt, research suggests

Students starting university this autumn will graduate with almost £25,000 worth of debt, research suggests.

Undergraduates now owe on average £5,600 for each year of study.

The Push Student Debt Survey, which questioned 2,000 students reveals university debt is still rising year on year.

It comes a week before A-level results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland are released, which will determine university places for hundreds of thousands of teenagers.

The findings show students starting their university careers from next month can expect to owe £24,700, compared to students who began courses last year who can expect debts of £23,200 on graduation.

Average debt for students at university in England is £5,293 per year, while in Wales it is £6,411, in Scotland it is £2,637 and in Northern Ireland it is £3,769, the study shows.

Johnny Rich, editor of Push.co.uk said: "We are at a crunch point for student debt. Many talented potential students may shy away when they hear a degree will cost £25,000. As the Government and Lord Browne consider what to do about the future of student finance, these figures should give them a lot to chew on."

Tuition fees now stand at around £3,000 per year and an independent review of student funding, which could pave the way for a fee hike, is due to report back this autumn.

The possibility of a type of "graduate tax", whereby students would pay back money based on their earnings, has been mooted.

Under current rules, students can claim a loan to cover the cost of tuition fees, plus extra for living costs. There are also grants for the poorest students. Loans begin to be repaid after a student graduates and is earning more than £15,000.

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