Students today are as worried about their wallets as they are about their studies, showing a stark difference to their parents’ university days, new research shows.
The Nationwide FlexStudent poll, which surveyed 1,000 current students and parental graduates, reveals the student of 2017 is more likely to be found at home watching films rather than going for a beer, with money worries occupying their minds more than their predecessors.
The survey reveals that some four in ten (42 per cent) mums and dads hit the town three or more times a week when at university. This compares to less than a third (31 per cent) of students today.
Based on a 40-week university year, current students go out 75 times on average versus 91 for parents – higher by more than a fifth (21 per cent).
However, parents and students are consistent when it comes to gender, with more men going out four or more times a week compared to women (24 per cent vs nine per cent for current students and 31 per cent vs 16 per cent for parent graduates).
Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of parents admit they frequently went to pubs and clubs during the week compared to less than a fifth (18 per cent) of today’s students.
However, despite the generational differences, both parents and students consumed the same amount of alcohol in a week (10 units for students, 11 units for parents), suggesting today’s undergraduates tend to socialise indoors. However, more than one in five (21 per cent) of current students are teetotal – the same for parents (21 per cent).
Despite hitting the town more, nearly two in five parents (38 per cent) admitted they spent most of their week nights studying when at university – a jump on the 22 per cent of current students who say they do the same.
Interestingly, for 2017 students, it may not be going out or studying that is most frequently done during the week – more than a third (36 per cent) admit to watching television and films.
The student loan is very much part of student life nowadays and this is borne out by more than nine in ten (91 per cent) of current students taking out a loan compared to just under half (48 per cent) of parents. For those students with a loan, nearly a quarter (22 per cent) say the biggest splash out was on a laptop, while 19 per cent admit to using it to go out and 13 per cent to go on a holiday. For parents who did need that financial assistance, 13 per cent admit to using it to fund their nights out.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of parents admit they never borrowed money while at university and, if they did, nearly a quarter (22 per cent) said it was from their mum and/or dad.
More than a fifth (21 per cent) of parents surveyed admitted they regretted not working hard enough in their first year, compared to just 12 per cent of today’s students.
By contrast, students today regret spending too much money (21 per cent) or not joining clubs or societies (21 per cent). Just 16 per cent of current students regret not studying enough.
With the cost of going to university becoming more expensive, the poll suggests students are increasingly open to the idea of living at home while studying – more than four in ten (45 per cent) admit they would do so, compared to more than a third (37 per cent) of parents when they were at university.
Dan King, Nationwide’s Head of FlexStudent, said: “Our latest research clearly breaks the myth that current students are all partying and enjoying themselves. In actual fact, the 2017 intake are far more likely to shun the party lifestyle for a more frugal, hardworking one. Staying in has become the new going out, particularly with the rise of subscription television services like Netflix.
“With more students than ever taking out loans to fund their courses and lives, it is perhaps no wonder that spending is highlighted as the biggest regret current students have in their first year. Added to that is the need to spend money on tech such as laptops and tablets – unavoidable outlays that perhaps didn’t feature for previous parental generations.”