Nottingham Old Market Square

Students have mixed perceptions on the idea on having a job whilst being at university, with some being unable to survive without the extra income whilst others want to prioritise their studies.

Now more so than ever having a job whilst being a student is a common thing, whether it be in a restaurant, a shop or a bar, you can guarantee a student will work there. But how many are there due to necessity?

Bethanie Burgin, a third year sports science student at the University of Lincoln, has had a part-time job for her entire duration at university.

“For me, money is always at the forefront of my mind, I’ve had no option but to work so that I can have money to be able to socialise. I don’t feel like it has put too much strain on me – that’s why I’m still working.”

She also stated how she made the decision to commute from her family home to her university, as it would provide her with more money to save.

A recent National Student Money Survey conducted by Save the Student revealed that 74% of students in the UK have a part-time job. Furthermore, the student loyalty and marketing platform Student Beans found that 20% of university students have two jobs to support themselves through their studies.

Of those students who have two jobs, 72% stated how it had a negative impact on their studies.

“Managing your money may not seem like the most exciting aspect of student life, but it’ll help you to start thinking about it now.”
Nottingham Trent University

In regard to many university courses, having work experience in that particular field is a required part of the course.

Ellie Barker, a first year nursing student at the University of Derby, also has a part time job: “With my course, I find having a job really stressful. Along with my studies there’s a compulsory 2,300 hours of work placement needed for my whole course, so doing that and then going to work at the weekend is really full on, but I’m not in an economic position where I can stop working.”

On the other hand, there are students who do not work whilst completing their studies. Becky Pickard, a second year psychology student at Nottingham Trent University. explains that for her, studies take top priority.

“Personally, I don’t work purely for the fact that I want to focus on my studies. I’m not totally opposed to the idea of working, it’s just that you can’t guarantee what hours you would be working.”

AUDIO: Becky Pickard speaks about why she does not have a part-time job

Nottingham Trent University notes on their website to future students that: “managing your money may not seem like the most exciting aspect of student life, but it’ll help you to start thinking about it now.”

The majority of students who do work said the reason for doing so was to fund living costs, with having extra money to spend as their secondary cause.

Of Student Beans’ findings, financial pressure was a main factor in causing students to consider dropping out of university.

“University is meant to be a time to learn, make friends and have fun, not to be bogged down by financial concerns”
Michael Eder, Founder of Student Beans

The National Union of Students (NUS) warned that they had discovered working-class students had begun to befriend loan sharks in order to fund unknown costs whilst at university, the NUS reported that a lack of transparency on behalf of the universities led to students being forced to pay for compulsory materials which had not been expressed prior.

Many standard university fees are £9,250 a year, with many students opting for a maintenance loan to help with living costs. Nottingham Trent University recommend that students will need around £8,000 a year to spend on basic living costs.

Following the financial stress that students sometimes find themselves in, founder of Student Beans, Michael Eder, said how “university is meant to be a time to learn, make friends and have fun, not to be bogged down by financial concerns.”

Prospects found that the pandemic has changed the impact of graduating whilst in a pandemic. 29% of final year students lost their jobs and 28% have had their graduate job offer deferred.

Evidentially it’s clear that students feel that having a job has an impact on their studies, although for many it is still manageable. Due to how the maintenance loan, provided by Student Finance England, is distributed to students, it means some are left with no choice but to work. A positive however is that it enables the students employed to gain work experience, which can be put towards when they graduate.