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Almost 32,000 students using payday loan firms – 01 July 2015

8 November 2016

Almost 32,000 UK students use payday loan companies to pay for day-to-day living costs, a huge survey has revealed

The findings, unveiled in the Unite Students Insight Report: Finance also show over 10,000 applicants plan to use payday lenders once they get to university – risking APR rates of up to 1,500%.

Around 26,400 students and 5,400 postgraduates are resorting to payday lenders, totalling 31,800 – a population equal to a town the size of Windsor.

And around 10,700 university applicants feel they will have to use payday loans once they leave home.

University of the Arts London graduate Audrey Jordan, 23, fell into using payday loan companies after losing contact with her parents at the start of her first year.

Audrey, from West Sussex, found herself £6,000 in debt to a variety of payday loan providers.

She said: “The finance I had didn’t meet the cost of living while I was a student. London is such an expensive place to live. 

“Payment from the jobs I relied on was not regular, so I used payday loan companies to help out when I was waiting to get my money.

“It all stacked up, until I woke up one morning and realised I couldn’t possibly pay the money back – there was just no way. I was terribly worried about bailiffs knocking on the door and being dragged to court.

“I would say to students thinking about using a payday loan provider ‘take my advice: do anything you can to avoid it’.”

Unite Students is the UK’s largest and most experienced student accommodation provider with the business purpose of creating a Home for Success for its students. 

Unite Students head of HE engagement and student services Jenny Shaw said: “It is hard to imagine how taking out a payday loan is the right choice for any student looking to get their finances back on track.

“If a student is struggling financially there are a wide range of options and support services available. Universities and some students’ unions have student finance advisors who offer an excellent service.

“It’s worrying to see a greater proportion of applicants believe payday lenders are the way forward. We can only hope that expectation doesn’t turn into a reality.”

Each year Unite Students carries out a survey of student behaviours and attitudes. This year the poll is 8,500 strong.

Also revealed in the Unite Students Insight Report: Finance:

* Around 633,500 undergraduate students feel they do not have enough money to cover their living costs – up by 12% in one year

* Around 563,000 undergraduates say they have taken on more debt than they expected – up by 7% in a year

* But around 968,000 say they do have enough to support themselves

Unite works closely with university student services and with national organisations to provide student-centred information and signposting on a range of welfare issues.

It arranges rent collection to coincide with student loan payments to best support students managing their finances.

Unite has also worked with Brightside to offer a student budget calculator to help students plan their finances: