Sixth form students across the UK preparing to go off to university this September should expect to pay GBP33,512 for a three-year degree course, according to a new report from retail bank NatWest.
The figure is up GBP5,000 from last year and budding students can expect to graduate with GBP14,779 of debt, an increase of GBP1,099 on 2005 figures, according to the 2006 NatWest Student Money Matters survey.
The survey attributes the rising level of debt to an increase in tuition fees, which are set to rise from GBP1,175 to GBP3,000 in September, 2007.
The lender did however reveal that the growth rate of student debt is now rising at a slower pace to previous years. Graduates now leave university with GBP13,252 of debt, a 5% increase of GBP612 on 2005, but the percentage of graduates leaving university with debts of over GBP10,000 remained the same as in 2005 at 62%.
Mark Worthington, head of student and graduate banking at the RBS-owned bank, 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.
It may be a long time before the students are able to pay off their debt because according to NatWest the average starting salary has fallen this year from GBP14,090 in 2005 to GBP13,860. More graduates are, however, finding work quicker; in 2006 23% had a job confirmed on graduation, up from 18% in 2005.