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Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 00:45 GMT 01:45 UK
Student debts reach 6,000
students
Most students are confident of finding a good job.
Students graduating this summer will carry with them an average debt of 5,900, a survey suggests.

But the study - by the graduate research company - High Fliers Research - also said most finalists were confident about finding a job and expected a starting salary of 25,000.

Researchers said many students were "cocky" about their chances of finding a good job.

They said many were in no hurry to get down to work and were planning to travel or take time out before working.

The researchers questioned 14,115 students who were graduating this summer from 30 universities in Britain.

Applications

They said few students had secured a job before completing their studies and that the average person applied to five or six employers.

The researchers believe students five years ago would have made twice that number of applications.

They said 39% of finalists expect to walk into a graduate position with the employer of their choice, with just 4% worrying they might have to settle for a company they did not want to work for.

Martin Birchall, of High Fliers Research, said the students were justified in their apparent "cockiness".


The students may appear lazy but it is a buyer's market and high calibre students with good degrees and a wide range of interests are hard to come by, so there are still plenty of top jobs

Martin Birchall, High Fliers Research
"The students may appear lazy but it is a buyer's market and high calibre students with good degrees and a wide range of interests are hard to come by, so there are still plenty of top jobs," he said.

Most of those questioned said they wanted to work in consulting, marketing and the media.

Some expected golden hellos of up to 3,000.

The least popular careers were in property, logistics and actuarial work.

Students graduating this summer from universities in England and Wales are the first to have had to pay tuition fees for all of their three-year degree courses and debt levels have risen.

Barclays - which conducts an annual survey on student debt - is predicting that students will graduate this summer with an average debt of 10,000.

Last year, it said the average was 6,507.

Tuition fees have been scrapped in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, the assembly has said it supports the ending of tuition fees but has not scrapped them.

But, over the next three years, 14,000 students from low-income families in Northern Ireland will be eligible for bursaries of up to 1,500.

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See also:

18 Jan 01 | Education
Students fear 7,000 debt hurdle
11 May 01 | Education
Student debt 'threat to wider access'
02 May 01 | Education
Indebted students face exclusion
14 May 01 | Education
Student costs 'put research at risk'
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