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New cost of degree: £33,512

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Students starting university this year should expect to pay £33,512 for a three year degree course, according to NatWest.

This has risen from £28,600 last year and includes the new tuition fees. As a result, students expect to graduate with £14,779 of debt, an increase of £1,099 on 2005 figures. However, 79% of the 2006 intake believe that going to university will help them with future job prospects and 53% wanted to use the opportunity to train for a specific career, such as medicine or dentistry.

Graduate debt is rising at a slower pace than in previous years. Graduates now leave university with £13,252 of debt, an increase of £612 or 5% on 2005. The average starting salary has fallen this year from £14,090 in 2005 to £13,860 in 2006, but 23% of graduates had a job confirmed on graduation – up from 18% in 2005.

Just over half (57%) of the students questioned admitted to being concerned about the amount of debt that they were in. However, only 22% (down from 29% in 2005) had actually considered giving up their studies to pursue a full time job.

Mark Worthington, head of student and graduate banking at NatWest, said: “New students are clearly much more clued up about the financial realities of university than in previous years. Despite the anticipated cost of university rising by 17% on 2005, students are taking it in their stride and cutting back on their spending, meaning they only expect to graduate with 8% more debt than those not paying the increased tuition fees.”


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