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Debt hangover leaves 37% of graduates regretting university

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More than one in three graduates regret going to university and nearly half believe they could have got to where they are now without a degree, according to a survey.

A week before A-level students receive their exam results and consider a move into higher education, the research by insurer Aviva shows Britain’s millennials – those aged 18-35 – are fast becoming a generation of regret as 37% who went to university regret doing so given the amount of debt they now have.

University fees have risen steadily in recent years, tripling from £3,000 in 2006 to £9,000 in 2012 and millennials estimate it will take them 11 years to pay off their student debt, with the figure jumping to 12 years for 18-24 year olds.

The Aviva study suggests 63% of millennials are relying on a one-off event to help them financially in the future. More than a third are hoping for a new job with a higher salary, but a similar proportion are relying on being given money – either in the form of family inheritance or some other financial gift – to help them in the future.

Louise Colley, customer propositions director at Aviva, said: “Millennials are plagued with uncertainty about the outlook for their financial futures, an issue which has not been helped by the uncertainty of today’s economic and political climate. The financial hangover from university has also led many in this age group to question whether in hindsight they made the right decision and how much value it has brought to their current position.”

However, the latest National Student Survey (NSS) found student satisfaction remains high across universities in the UK. Of the 312,000 final-year students surveyed, 86% said they were satisfied overall with their course.

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