University graduates have more non-student loan debt than those who didn’t attend, study shows

University students and graduates under 40 have almost TWICE the amount of non-student loan debt compared with those who did not get higher education, research says

  • Uni students and some graduates have more non-student loan debt, study says
  • They had nearly twice the amount of debt, excluding student loans, than those who didn’t attend university 
  • More than 3,000 people aged 18 to 40 were surveyed across United Kingdom 

University students and graduates aged 40 and under have nearly double the amount of non-student loan debt compared with those who did not attend university, research has found.

Among those with debts, those who attended university have £12,445-worth of debt on average, excluding any student loans.

Meanwhile people who did not attend university typically owe £7,105, according to credit reference agency Equifax.

University students and graduates aged 40 and under have nearly double the amount of non-student loan debt compared with those who did not attend university, research has found (stock photo used)

Nearly half (47%) of university students and graduates said receiving a student loan made them more comfortable with other forms of borrowing.

Paula Roche, managing director of consumer solutions at Equifax UK, suggested earlier exposure to borrowing may be increasing graduates’ familiarity with the credit market.

She said: ‘We know that graduates earn more, and are more likely to have a mortgage by the time they hit 40 years old, but there are signs that this greater exposure to the credit market is also being driven by a greater familiarity with, or even desensitisation to, borrowing while at university.

‘Whether it’s credit cards or car finance, using the credit system and building up a credit history is one of the best ways to build a positive credit score, which could be giving graduates a further advantage when applying for a mortgage in later life.

Among those with debts, those who attended university have £12,445-worth of debt on average, excluding any student loans (stock photo used)

Among those with debts, those who attended university have £12,445-worth of debt on average, excluding any student loans (stock photo used)

She added that said that young people must be taught about handling credit in a responsible manner.

Ms Roche said: ‘Whilst taking out different forms of credit isn’t problematic when managed responsibly and repaid on time, it’s important for all young people to understand the different types of credit available, and to have a clear view of how their financial history may influence their ability to access them.’

Levels of anxiety when managing money were found to be high for all young people in the study, regardless of background.

Two-thirds (64%) of those paying off a student loan said managing their money causes them anxiety, compared with 57% of those who did not attend university.

More than 3,000 people aged 18 to 40 were surveyed across the UK.

It comes as Government plans for minimum grade requirements to access student loans could ‘entrench’ the disadvantage of the poorest students, universities said this month.

The Government launched a consultation on its plans for higher education, including the introduction of a minimum of two E grades at A-level or GCSE passes in English and maths to access loan finance.

Universities UK said a minimum entry requirement could ‘prevent some of the most disadvantaged students from achieving their potential and entrench their disadvantage’.

The group added that proposed controls on student numbers would have an ‘adverse impact on Government objectives such as levelling up’, while also having a ‘disproportionate impact’ on students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A Department for Education spokesman this month said: ‘We have more 18 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university than ever before, but it is in no-one’s interests for young people to be pushed on to higher education courses that do not lead to good jobs or before they are academically ready to benefit.

‘We have not proposed to bar anyone from going to university; rather, we are starting a conversation on minimum entry requirements and asking whether young people should be pushed straight into a full degree, without being prepared for that level of study.’

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