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Most students 'in debt'

FOUR out of five university students are ending this academic year owing money, writes Diana Hinds. And the average debt is more than pounds 1,600, an increase of 22 per cent since last year, according to a survey,

Barclays Bank's survey of 3,000 students, conducted by the National Union of Students Services Ltd, found that 81 per cent were in debt, and students graduating this summer expected to be more deeply in debt than last year's graduates, owing pounds 1,900 by the end of their courses compared with pounds 1,765 in the Barclays 1992 survey.

More than a third thought they would be able to pay off the debts by the time their autumn grant cheque arrived. But Barclays warns that hopes of summer jobs 'could be ill-founded'.

Since student maintenance grants were frozen in 1989, the maximum a student can receive is pounds 2,845 a year in London, pounds 2,265 outside London, or pounds 1,795 for living at home.

Forty-six per cent of students have Government loans, compared with 31 per cent last year. Banks account for 24 per cent of student debt and parental funding for 22 per cent.