One in ten students in the UK lives on less than £10 a week,
according to figures published this week. Accommodation charges are deemed to be the heaviest burden on
students finances, and are most often cited as a major factor in
choice of university. A quarter of all students are now choosing
to live at home, with some facing a daily commute of two or three
hours to university. In the light of rising fees, there have been
increased calls on universities nationwide to publish average
annual living costs. The estimates ranged from £9,000 in central
London to £5,000 in Birmingham. This has left some experts questioning the value of degrees.
According to a Graduate Careers Survey, only a third of students
leaving Britain’s top universities this summer will
immediately begin or seek a graduate-level job, the lowest level
in ten years. Some experts feel that the financial incentive of
university education is waning, especially with the rising cost
of higher education. Professor Phillip Brown, of Cardiff University, warns that
students have “invested in their education on the premise
they will be able to earn a good living”, while in reality
many struggle to find “interesting, well-paid jobs”. Oxford students, however, are more confident. One finalist
from Corpus said he felt his education was still an advantage,
but “the difference is that these days an Oxford degree
doesn’t guarantee you anything".ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004