Lots of UK graduates regret attending university

Report from insurance company Aviva finds that graduates have just £150 spare each month after living costs, half of graduates feel that their degree have not helped their life path


According to a research into the finances of the millennial generation, more than a third of graduates regret going to university, and half of them think they would have worked their current job without having to study for a degree.

The research was just published before hundreds of thousands of A-level students discover if they have obtained the grades needed for their desired university course. The report with title Generation Regret, Aviva warns that many graduates wish they had never wasted time attending university, given the level of debt they will accumulate.

In details, it found that 37% of those who went to university regret because it caused the amount of debt they now have. And a total of 49% said they could have got job without the benefit of a university degree.


However, the research was condemned by universities, they also pointed to separate data published at the same time showing a high level of satisfaction with university and college courses. Beside that, the annual National Student Survey with responses from 312,000 final year students, found an overall satisfaction rating of 86% this year, it is the same as last year.

Despite the condemnation,  Aviva said financial crisis makes many to question the value of a university education. It said that millennials, aged 18-35, estimate that they will take around 11-12 years to repay their student debts, and that every month they are scrambling to make ends meet.

It said “Aviva’s findings suggest that millennials have just £156 to spare at the end of each month after essential living costs and face repaying hefty student loans,” and then adding that a third of millennials feel they have to carry more of a financial burden for higher education than older generations.

Louise Colley of Aviva said: “The financial hangover from university has 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. With relatively low disposable incomes and significant debt to tackle, millennials don’t have it easy when managing their finances.”

However, universities dismissed the findings, they said the research were based on narrow survey data. Aviva interviewed more than 2,000 people aged 18-55 as part of its regular family finances report, “with additional interviews among 18-35s taking the total in this age group to 1,073 for the spotlight on millennials”.

According to official data,  graduates are on average more likely to be in employment and earn more than non-graduates. For example, the government’s Graduate Labour Market Statistics: 2015, was published in April in this year, it shows that graduates are more likely to be in work and earn much more than non-graduates over a working lifetime in general.


For all working age population, graduates earned £9,500 more than non-graduates on average. But these gaps were narrower for the young population, graduates earning only £6,000 more than non-graduates.

Moreover, there was an IFS study from April this year, which shows that graduates earn much more to be in work, and earn much more than non-graduates.

Until now, The National Union of Students (NUS) still decline to comment specifically on the Aviva findings, it only said that too many students have been condemned to a lifetime of debt., the NUS vice-president for higher education, Sorana Vieru said: “The £9,000 fees system is a failed experiment and has not driven up quality or sustainably funded institutions as promised. In just one year the government has scrapped maintenance grants, NHS bursaries, cut the disabled students’ allowance to the bone, changed loan repayment terms to make graduates pay back their loans faster and is now planning a further rise in tuition fees. We urgently need to review this unsustainable funding system which will force students into a lifetime of debt.”

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