UK Student Wellbeing Survey Reveals Cost-of-Living Crisis Impacts University Experience

Studiosity has published the findings of its UK Student Wellbeing Survey.

According to a comprehensive UK Student Wellbeing Survey commissioned by Studiosity, global leaders in online study success solutions, a staggering 80% of students believe that the ongoing cost-of-living crisis has significantly affected their overall university experience. The survey, conducted among 2,050 students, highlights the concerns and anxieties faced by students grappling with financial constraints.

The findings reveal that 77% of students are greatly or somewhat concerned about their limited ability to afford social activities, while 67% worry about sacrificing study time to engage in paid work. Additionally, 67% express anxiety about the prospect of taking on extra jobs to cover their bills. Financial limitations also impact students’ basic necessities, with 64% struggling to afford groceries, 60% facing difficulties in paying for heating and rent, and 48% unable to purchase course materials.

Furthermore, 40% of students report experiencing stress at least once a day, and although this represents a 14% decrease from the 2021 survey, a concerning 57% of students admit to seriously considering dropping out of university. The survey indicates that only 43% of students have positive feelings toward the support services offered by their universities, while 57% have negative or neutral sentiments.

Despite the detrimental effects of the cost-of-living crisis, 81% of students describe their overall wellbeing as good or okay, with 52% stating that the pandemic has made them more resilient. Impressively, 73% of students express confidence in their ability to pursue university-level studies, and 65% state they are very likely or likely to choose the same university again.

While two-thirds of students (66%) find their university experience in line with or better than their expectations for the 2021-2022 academic year, 49% believe it will be more challenging in the current climate to secure employment after graduation.

Isabelle Bristow, Studiosity’s Managing Director for the UK and Europe, highlights the pressing concerns faced by students in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis. Bristow states, “To try to combat rising costs, students are picking up more paid work alongside their degrees, which is reducing the time they have to study and socialize. As a result, students are in need of 24/7 access to additional feedback and support, whenever and wherever they want it, as they now bear the burden of extra responsibilities. Encouragingly, students have shown resilience as a result of the pandemic, coming together to support each other emotionally and academically.”

Noteworthy findings from the survey include:

  • Female, undergraduate, and UK students are more likely to feel unsupported by their universities.
  • Female, undergraduate, and UK students are more likely to rate their wellbeing as poor.
  • Male, postgraduate, and UK students are more likely to feel more resilient following the pandemic.
  • Female, undergraduate, UK students, and those aged 19-20 are more likely to experience constant stress from studying.
  • Undergraduate students, UK students, and those aged 18 and under are more likely to feel anxious, isolated, experience self-doubt, or lack motivation while studying alone.
  • Female, undergraduate, and UK students are more likely to consider quitting their courses while struggling to study alone.
  • UK students are more likely to find the amount of study and balancing work/life commitments stressful.
  • Females, undergraduates, and UK students are most likely to seek 24/7 online study support.
  • Females, EU/international students, and younger students are more likely to use 24/7 online study support service from a real person.
  • 85% of students feel confident in submitting their work without plagiarism
  • Males, older students, and those who feel supported by their university are most likely to feel confident.
  • Females, those aged over 21, and EU/international students are more likely to have their university experience significantly affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

The survey also provides regional insights, with varying impacts and concerns across different parts of the UK.

Studiosity offers personalized, on-demand study support to over 20 UK universities, providing English-writing feedback and one-on-one assistance from subject specialists. The platform aims to address the need for constant support and inclusive treatment for students facing financial challenges and increased responsibilities. Studiosity was recognized as the Digital Platform of the Year at the EducationInvestor Awards 2023.

Professor Judyth Sachs, Chief Academic Advisor of Studiosity, emphasizes the importance of understanding students’ experiences and backgrounds to provide effective support. She states, “As educators, we must make it a priority to not lose sight of who our students are. We must make learning from and about our students a priority to support them better.”

The survey findings serve as valuable insights to reflect on student expectations and enhance support systems, ensuring students receive the necessary assistance, inclusive treatment, and care tailored to their individual circumstances.

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