By Max Clarke

Cash-strapped students are increasingly struggling to make ends meet, with one in six students unable to meet their monthly outgoings.

These are the grim findings from Lloyds TSB’s student finance report, which examines saving, earning and studying habits in UK students.

Students are applying for university this year in order to beat next year's planned tuition fee hike pushing applications up to a record 673,000. The increasing cost and debt levels of study are increasingly causing school leavers to seek out alternatives to university.

The rising cost of living is forcing half of students to seek a job, with half of this number subsequently struggling with their studies. Strong regional variations within this statistic exist, as just 1 in 3 students have worked within the past year, compared to nearly double this in the North East.

“Whilst university days are supposed to be among the most golden in your life,” said Jatin Patel, Lloyds TSB Director of Current Accounts: “the financial stresses can take their toll.”

More happily, however, whilst 45% of students worked during university simply to get by, more than a quarter worked in order to supplement their social lives and to afford luxuries, Lloyds’ survey found. Around 12% worked to boost their employability in future life.

Just 6% sought employment in order to curb their heavy debts, despite students embarking on their studies this year expecting average debts in excess of £26000.

“Paid work can be a huge benefit to students as it can give them valuable experience for later on in life;” continued Patel, “however, it should not be impacting their studies. With finances so tight students need to ensure they are making use of all the discounts and money management tools available to them to help them manage their finances.”

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