Student Income and Expenditure Study
The Student Income and Expenditure Study is the main source of information that the government uses in order to track student expenditure and debt.
The Student Income and Expenditure Study is the main source of information that the government uses in order to track student expenditure and debt. The study paints a detailed picture of student finances, looking at how students' financial situations affect their experiences of higher education.
A 2014/15 report on Welsh students' finances is available from the Welsh Government's website.
The 2011/12 report for England and Wales is available from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills' website.
Latest findings from the Welsh report
Full time students
- Average estimated income was just over £16,300, an increase of 43 percent compared to 2011/12, reflecting the expansion of the student support package to fund the higher fee regime introduced in 2012.
- Over half received a WGLG or Special Support Grant, and more did paid work during term time than in 2011/12
- Family contributions made up a much lower proportion of income compared with the last survey.
- Average expenditure was just over £18,800 and had increased by 34 per cent since 2011/12. Participation costs had more than doubled.
- Total borrowing averaged just under £7,300 following the first year, just below £15,000 following the second year and just over £19,000 following the third year.
- Whilst the use of commercial credit and arrears increased, although overall borrowing did not change between 2011/12 and 2014/15.
- Average estimated income, at just below £14,000, had also increased since the last survey, but this margin of increase was less than for full-timers, and meant that unlike in 2011/12, part-timers’ income was lower than full-timers’.
- Most part-time students were in continuous paid work and most received social security benefits.
- First year students predicted they would end the year with just under £7,700 of borrowing. Those in their third and higher years of study predicted total borrowing of under £2,900. This borrowing included a substantial component of commercial debt, reliance on which had increased since the 2011/12 survey.
The study involves a 25 minute questionnaire that can be completed either online or over the phone. Respondents are asked to fill in a seven day spending diary. This takes around 5 minutes per day to complete and can be done online.