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Monday, 22 April, 2002, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
15,000 debt - and counting
UCL
Clare-Marie thinks her degree will be worth it (Photo: UCL)
Students who graduate this summer in the UK expect to have debts of at least 10,000 according to a NatWest survey - with 90% of them regarding that as a good investment.

Clare-Marie White, a history finalist at University College London, says 10,000 is nothing...

The last loan instalment of my degree has just arrived, putting my debt to the Student Loan Company at roughly 15,000.

I also have a 1,400 bank overdraft and a 250 credit card debt.

I was able to take out the biggest amount of the means-tested loan and did not pay fees, so according to the government I had enough to live in London without help from my parents - not true.

Last year I paid 92 a week for a poky room in an unsanitary apartment block 40 minutes away from UCL.

Work 'experience'

The rent on its own was more than the loan and I had to work for everything else.

Working as an office temp meant that I did not have the time to get work experience placements in the media, which is the career I want to take after university.

Although I was able to fit everything in and get work experience, it was a struggle.

I fitted work experience around exams and coursework deadlines and it often meant I did not get much of a break.

Dropped out

I have had friends from low-income families who have dropped out of university when the money has run out because they simply had nowhere to turn to.

I also have friends whose parents are on the threshold for fees but cannot afford them, so they can end up with about 2,000 a year to survive on.

And yet, apart from the overly-relaxed attitude towards credit cards that I have developed, I have no regrets taking on this debt.

It will be worth it in the long run.

See also:

22 Apr 02 | Education
19 Oct 01 | Mike Baker
12 Feb 02 | Wales
31 Jan 02 | Education
31 Jan 02 | Health
13 Aug 01 | Education
Internet links:


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