As much as we hate to say it, money matters, especially when it comes to us students! We may not have to deal with paying back our fees just yet, but being limited by our loans and consequently constrained, can we all deal with the burning holes in our pockets?
For students facing the fee rise – and even for those who have just dodged the £9k bullet – debt is almost unavoidable at university. Whether we’re borrowing money from student finance, our parents or loan companies to fund our future, the debts that daunt us don’t come without stress. For some, the stress of money can become so severe that depression doesn’t follow too far behind.
Student suicides in England and Wales rose by an astonishing 50% between 2007 and 2011 (Office of National Statistics), despite a 14% increase in the intake of students at universities. With these statistics being discovered when the country remains in recession and student debts are dramatically rising, it begs the question: is enough being done to financially and emotionally support students?
With the loan repayment threshold being increased to £21,000 per year for those paying the new higher fee, it seems there is no increased financial stress compared to those who pay almost a third of the new fee. But with the average student debt now being in the range of £40,000…how can we as students not panic with a five figure debt like that over our heads?!
In recent YouGov polls, money has emerged as the most common concern here in the UK, with over half of Samaritan help line callers expressing their financial worries.
There is no direct evidence to suggest that debts lead directly to depression, but it can be suggested from statistics that student debts may well contribute to student depression. So with stress rising alongside the loan repayments, surely more money should be put into support services? Ed Pinkey, founder of Mental Wealth UK, reinforces the importance of student support:
”It is difficult to see the rise in student suicides reversing with student debts continuing to increase and support services continuing to have their budgets threatened with cuts. This isn’t just about the personal issues facing a minority of students. It’s an academic issue, too. Just as buildings require strong foundations, students cannot be expected to thrive if they lack adequate support.”
No matter how severe, the majority of students fear the financial pressure at some point during their years at university. But if you find your budget is too finely stretched over rent, food, bills and books, the stresses of our debts can sometimes get the better of us. Even though student support systems are not necessarily increasing, we can still utilise the resources we currently have on campus.
For help and support, contacts SUSU Nightline or numerous online resources such as www.studentsagainstdepression.org