Cost of living crisis: university students selling possessions and turning to gambling

Half of university students polled in a new research said financial issues were affecting their mental health.

As the cost of living soars a new study has revealed that some university students have resorted to selling their possessions, gambling or paid clinical trials to cope with rising prices.

The independent research commissioned by Unite Students also showed that 50% of students and 41% of parents said financial issues are affecting their mental health.

The study polled 1,000 first, second and third-year undergraduate students, and 1,000 parents and guardians.

Around 32% of students admitted to selling belongings, while 9% said they had turned to gambling and 8% have signed up for scientific or clinical trials.

With the UK’s inflation rate rising to a three-decade high, over a third of parents said they were struggling to financially support their child through higher education.

Liverpool has three major universities - the University of Liverpool, Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool John Moores University.

One student concerned about the cost of living, Ashlea Davies, 20, a third-year Criminology and Sociology student at Liverpool John Moores, said: “I’m not comfortable relying on my family for financial support, despite the cost-of-living increases having a big impact on me.”

What the study revealed

  • 73% of parents and 66% of students are extremely worried about escalating costs.
  • 50% of students and 41% of parents have said that financial issues are affecting their mental health.
  • 54% of parents believe that the increasing cost of living is putting strain on family life.

The research claimed that on average, parents are giving their children £249.02 each month to help them cover the cost of living while at university.

Further findings have shown that parents are expecting their own household expenditure to increase by more than 14% on average in the coming year.

With students and their parents both finding the increasing cost of living difficult to shoulder, many have started to explore different options to financially support either themselves or their children through university.

How are parents making ends meet?

  • 28% are picking up extra hours at work
  • 10% have resorted to taking out a bank loan
  • 3% are re-mortgaging their home
  • 5% have invested in cryptocurrency
  • 3% have said they’re gambling to help raise funds

How are students funding university life?

  • 25% have taken out an overdraft
  • 32% are selling their possessions
  • 8% have signed up for scientific or clinical trials
  • 11% have invested money in the stock market
  • 10% have set up cryptocurrency accounts
  • 8% trying to become social media influencers
  • 9% admit turning to gambling

What’s been said

Liverpool John Moore’s student Ashlea Davies said: “I’m not comfortable relying on my family for financial support, despite the cost-of-living increases having a big impact on me – particularly when it comes to petrol and food.

“I’m very aware of needing to work if I want to be able to buy things, but I’ve had to significantly reduce my hours because juggling work and my studies was becoming unmanageable.

“At the end of the day, it was my choice to go to university, and despite the amount of debt I’ll be in when I finish my degree, I wouldn’t do anything differently if given the opportunity.”