Graduate debt is set to escalate alarmingly in the next seven years, a report has said.
Students face rising financial pressures
The study, by Barclays Bank, concluded that the impact of tuition fees in England and Wales and the increasing cost of living will mean students will be leaving university with average debts of £33,708 by 2010.
As a result, students will have to rely increasingly on parental support, finding work during term time and saving prior to going to university.
However, the silver lining for would-be students is that people going to university are expected to earn higher salaries than non-graduates.
Earlier this week, a survey by NatWest found that the average level of graduate debt had risen by nearly a half over the past year to £8,125.
Barclays estimate that a student's annual outgoings such as rent, food and books will total £11,236 a year in 2010, up from £7,859 in 2003.
Student loans - designed to replace the student maintenance grant for many - will only be able to take up some of the slack.
The report estimates that by 2010, students will have to find an additional £22,059 from sources other than the student loan company to fund a three year degree course.
"Students should look carefully at all of their options if they need to borrow and ensure they are always borrowing from the cheapest source," said Martin Binder, head of current accounts at Barclays.
"However, there is good news for students in that those who go to university continue to earn higher salaries than their peers who started work earlier," he added.
A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said Barclays had come up with an "unrealistic figure".
He added: "We have made it clear that the maximum tuition fee will remain £3,000 up to 2010.
"Because the poorest students will benefit from having some of their fees paid by the government and a non-repayable grant of up to £1,000, it is simply preposterous to suggest the debt level might be this high.
"University is a worthwhile investment, which will only have to be repaid when a graduate is earning more than £15,000, and then at a rate linked to their income, so they only repay when they can afford to do so."