Students 'relying on parental hand-outs'

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The Independent Online
Growing numbers of students are relying on their parents to put them through university - and they are not paying the money back.

A survey from Barclays Bank published yesterday suggests student debt may be rising less rapidly than expected as parents provide more cash for higher education.

Despite the student loan scheme, fewer students are angry about debt than three years ago and fewer of them owe money to the banks.

An independent research company, CEL, conducted interviews with 1,500 students in 16 universities. The survey shows a 14 per cent increase in the amount of debt students expect when they leave, but much of this appears to be the result of a big rise in the amount owed to the student loan scheme introduced in 1990. Nearly two thirds owe money to the scheme while the proportion in debt to the banks is down from 25 per cent in 1992 to 17 per cent.

A much smaller proportion owe money to parents than three years ago (down from 21 per cent to 9 per cent) but the percentage who say parents are their main source of income is up from 26 to 34 per cent. That suggests more parents are giving rather than loaning their children money for higher education. On average students owe their parents pounds 129 compared with pounds 213 two years ago.

Students expect to leave university with a debt of pounds 2,293 compared with one of pounds 1,765 three years ago.

For many, debt is becoming a way of life. The proportion who say they are angry about it has halved. Nineteen per cent of students manage to stay out of debt altogether.