The current wave of students has learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, a study by graduate recruitment website Milkround has revealed.
A survey of 130 students and graduates found 81 percent of students prioritise paying bills over going out, compared to 73 percent of graduates when they were studying.
The research investigated the spending habits of students and graduates, identifying how current students are taking money matters more seriously than graduates. Some 85 percent of students stated they would choose purchasing an important text book over a new pair of trainers, but only 76 percent of graduates made the same choice in their position.
Although, the differences may be slight, they are apparent throughout the survey. Current students are more cautious with the little money they have to play with as nearly three quarters (73 percent) try to stick to a budget, whereas only two-thirds (67 percent) of graduates said that they budgeted throughout university.
The survey also asked who they would first turn to for financial help. Almost nine out of ten (88 percent) graduates turning to their parents, compared to only 77 percent of students. Banks were second choice, but only six percent of graduates and seven percent of students would turn to financial institutions first.
Surprisingly, graduates are less concerned about leaving university with student debts than they were last year, as only 48 percent regarded student debt as a worry¹, compared to almost three in five respondents in 2011. This is despite the fact that when asked how they support themselves financially throughout university, almost equal amounts (74 percent of students and 73 percent of graduates) stated that they relied on their student loan.
Another notable finding is that although nearly one in ten students use a scholarship for financial support, not a single graduate respondent said they had received scholarship funding.
Milkround spokesperson Abbie Baisden said: ³Money is tight for everyone at the moment, and not least for students. The times of frivolous student spending are gone and have been replaced by budgeting and financial savvy. Understanding their own financial situation as well as an acute awareness of the economy around them has led to students making better decisions about their finances, supporting themselves with part time jobs and taking advantage of funding available, such as scholarships.
³Most surprising is that graduates are worrying less about the debt they will have post-university. With the rise in tuition fees being rolled out across universities nationwide this coming academic year, it will be interesting to compare these figures to those of graduates a few years down the line to see if this is still the case.²