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Final year students forced to work

Debt and living costs are forcing university students to work during their final year at university, a study has found.

Research commissioned by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit found that students in their third year were much more likely to find a job than those in their first year.

The Futuretrack study is following 50,000 university students from completing their UCAS application to getting their first job.

The latest report, which is the third in the series, shows that nearly eight in 10 final-year students (78.2%) work, with 42.8% of these working during holidays and term time.

In comparison, just over two-thirds (67.8%) worked during their first year of university.

Meeting essential living costs was the most common reason for choosing to work during term time of their final year - chosen by 84% of those questioned.

Around eight in 10 (79%) said they worked to meet the cost of leisure activities and 66% needed to meet the cost of books and study materials.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of final year students said they were working to avoid debt - though this had fallen slightly from the 67% who said they were working for this reason in their first year.

One student told researchers she was "extremely overdrawn for the last one-and-a-half years and my bursary and part-time work does not pay for all the bills, mortgage etc."

Another said: "A student loan only goes so far, once rent and bills have been paid for, I found myself with little money left to actually live on."

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