Graduates owe ‘up to £23k’ for study

By Ian Dunt

Graduates face debts of up to £23,000 after completing university, new research has discovered.

Independent university guide Push, which published the figures, found the average student debt had risen to £5,000 a year, with debt expected to soar by a further 10.6 per cent in 2009/10.

The new statistics come just days before A-level results are published and students across the country find out if they have secured a place at their preferred university.

The government is publishing a much-awaited fees review next year, but unions have seized on today’s findings to pressure ministers into avoiding any rise in tuition fees.

“Any further increase in university fees will be about as popular as the poll tax with hard-working families and their children,” said University and College Union (UCU) general secretary, Sally Hunt.

“These are really worrying figures. It is criminal that generations of students will be saddled with thousands of pounds of debt.

“For all the talk of widening participation the sad reality is that students and their families are facing ever higher financial barriers to going to university.”

The report found that students who started at university last year can expect to owe nearly £21,200 by the time they leave. Students who start this academic year should reckon on at least £2,000 more than that.

The national average projected debt on graduation stands at £15,812, but at six universities the figure has already broken the £25,000 barrier.