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Money woes keep students at home

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07/06/2006

More students are living with their parents when they go to university to keep costs down. Andrew Partridge looks at the price of independence.

The cost of going to university is spiralling, causing a fifth of new, young students to plan to live with their parents when they start an undergraduate course, research has found.

New figures from Lloyds TSB student banking, which canvassed the views of 500 students planning to go to University this year and 500 of their parents, found more than a third of people applying thought it would be too expensive to go to university if they did not live at home.

Of the students surveyed, 38% said it would be possible to leave home but they would need to take on additional debt to do so. Additionally, 42% of young people admitted that living at home was ‘an easy life’ and even if they could afford to move out, they would stay put.

However, some 73% of parents surveyed confessed that if money wasn’t an issue, they would want their offspring to move out when they went to university.

Additionally, 58% of new students thought the independence they’d gain from moving out was worth the extra cost and 32% could not stay at home anyway as their chosen university was too far away.

Other reasons for wanting to live away from home were the social aspects, cited by 60%, and 23% admitted they wanted to escape their parents’ clutches.

Marcus Banks of Lloyds TSB student banking said: “With student debts escalating, living at home could seem like an easy way to save money. But for many going to university isn’t just about getting a degree – it’s also about learning to live an independent life.

“Before making a final decision about whether to move out, it’s worth thinking carefully about all the financial help available and weighing up the pros and cons.”
Saving money should not be the only thing to consider if you or your children are thinking about staying at home when starting out at university. According to family therapist Phillip Hodson, a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, your decision will have consequences for your future life.

He warned: “The psychological consequences of staying at home may be severe. Stay-at-home youngsters tend to remain adolescent with damaged powers of personal decision-making.
“Indeed, some of them – especially boys – get stuck at home until they are 30 or older partly because they have not managed this crucial break at 18. They may well believe “the living is easy” but only because their parents continue to cook, wash up and pay the bills. The catch is that these young people are the ones being deprived of survival life skills.”

Before deciding whether as a new student you should leave home, weigh up all of your options. Think about the cost of moving out, but also ensure you consider the costs of staying at home.

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