Most graduates still rely on parents three years later

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The Independent Online

The majority of students are still financially dependent on their parents three years after they have graduated, according to a survey published today.

The majority of students are still financially dependent on their parents three years after they have graduated, according to a survey published today.

A poll of 1,200 students who graduated in 2002 showed 58 per cent were relying on their parents to tide them over this year. Many had moved back home to avoid paying bills.

The report, conducted for Royal Bank of Scotland, also revealed that 56 per cent were dissatisfied with the salaries they were earning three years on and less than a third (27 per cent) were happy with the amount they were saving.

The study comes at a time of growing controversy about student finance, with top-up fees of up to £3,000 a year set to be introduced by universities in September 2006. Figures show that the average student is leaving university with debts of £13,501 - a rise of 12 per cent on 2004.

Critics of top-up fees say they will lead to students leaving university with even bigger debts. But the report said of the class of 2002: "Financial reliance on parents was a key theme for graduates three years after university, with well over half surprised at how they have had to rely on their parents for help with money."

Donna Ewing, the head of graduate banking for RBS, said: "These findings confirm that the financial path after graduation does not always run smoothly."

The report revealed that engineering graduates were the most satisfied with their lot three years after graduating. 80 per cent said they were happy with their work and were given good opportunities for training and development, leading to promotion opportunities. By contrast, those who had gone into the hospitality industry scored only a 30 per cent satisfaction rating.

Less than a third (27 per cent) were satisfied with the hours that they worked while less than one in five were satisfied with the training and development and promotion opportunities they received.

Wrexham was named as the place in the UK where graduates were most likely to be able to afford to take out a mortgage within three years of leaving university. 75 per cent of those living in the town already had a mortgage whereas 76 per cent of those living in London still had to get a foot on the property ladder.

Among the graduates whose parents have provided financial help is Julian Dobson, 26, a sociology graduate from Durham University. He moved back to his parents' home to Cowbridge, Wales, after graduation and is now a bar manager.Mr Dobson said he wanted to save money on rent and that he felt lucky to have parents who were so understanding.

Alexandra Cocklin, 25, who left Sheffield University with a BA honours degree in history and is a marketing administrator in higher education, said: "You may have to cut back on your student lifestyle when you graduate.

"It's important to only shop and go out within your means but a bit of budgeting means you can still enjoy yourself while you want to try to land the perfect graduate job."

Anna Wetz, student, 26: 'They didn't complain when I asked for cash'

Anna Wetz is just one of many students who have had to rely on their parents for financial help since leaving university.

Ms Wetz, a religious studies graduate from Edinburgh University, moved back to her parents' home in Bristol while she took temporary jobs.

She had started off by working in social services after her graduation but decided the following summer that was not the career for her - and went back home for a while.

Then, when she later moved to work in television production in London, she asked her parents for further financial support, to help her with a deposit on a flat she was planning to rent.

"I don't know whether they expected to have to support me. They didn't complain, but I have paid them back now," she said.

Ms Wetz took a four-year degree course and took out four annual loans to cover the cost of tuition fees of £1,100 a year and living expenses. "I worked part-time whilst I was studying and also worked during the summer break," she said.

She admits that she took time to find the right job for her on graduating from university and was grateful for a three-year interest- free overdraft which helped her cover the cost of bills.