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70% of first-year students fear part-time work has ‘dried up’, UK survey finds

By Vicky Shaw

Seven in 10 first-year university students fear the coronavirus pandemic will leave them unable to find part-time work to support their studies, a survey has found.

Some 71% of those surveyed believe they will struggle to find employment in the current climate, with female students particularly likely to take this view, Nationwide Building Society found.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of female students were of this opinion, compared with two-thirds (66%) of male students.

More than 1,000 first-year university students were surveyed online between September 29 and October 1.

Without employment at university, more than half (53%) of first-year students believe they will end up in more debt once they finish their first year and when they eventually graduate, the survey found.

Financial concerns and coronavirus restrictions have led some freshers to cut back their spending.

More than a third (38%) plan to spend less during this academic year as a result of Covid-19, with women more likely to be planning to spend less (41%) than men (35%).

Socialising, travel and hobbies are the three most common areas where students expect their spending to be lower than expected.

But more than a quarter (27%) plan to spend more on other items, including on food and drink at home, online learning materials and new or better gadgets such as laptops and tablets.

James Broome, head of current accounts at Nationwide, which has a FlexStudent account in its range, said: “Starting out at university in 2020 will undoubtedly have been an unusual experience, with the ability to socialise being significantly restricted due to Covid-19.

“While this means that less is being spent, less is also being earned due to many part-time university jobs having dried up. The ability to manage money has, therefore, become even more important for students on a tight budget.”


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