Seconday Research

I began my secondary research to help me gain insight on potential users. A survey commissioned by a financial technology company, (Pells, 2017) found a number of interesting results that I ultimately used to inform additional secondary and primary research.

The survey stated:

  • 3/4 of students feel stressed about debt while studying.
  • over 1/3 say they cant afford their weekly shop.
  • over 1/4 say they miss rent payments.
  • 58% completely run out of money before their next payment

Top 3 things students couldn’t afford:

  • Rent (78%)
  • Food (69%)
  • Utility Bills (47%)

Top ways uni students get other forms of money:

  • Overdrafts (58%)
  • Savings (27%)
  • Credit cards (6%)
  • Payday loans (9%)
  • Parents (65%)

The National Union of Student’s vice president has commented on these figures: “Increased poverty and debt is a major factor in the increase in students experiencing mental health issues”

The article also quotes a second year student, Fiona, from Manchester Metropolitan University:

People assume students spend their money on nights out, but I regularly have to choose not to go out, so I can buy food. I’ve also had to miss classes and delay assignments when shifts become available and I have to take them when I can. It’s really stressful constantly thinking about money when I should be focusing on my studies.”

As a starting point of secondary research, I was able to assume that either students are not spending their money wisely or they are not budgeting as well as they could.

These figures helped my project a lot as I found areas where students need the most help such as rent and food. I could tell students need help budgeting because of the amount of people running out of money before the next installment and even worse, going hungry.

These figures also informed my primary research as I could see what I want to know more about, for example, why were people running out of money so quickly? What were they spending the majority of their money on? This research allowed me to understand some of the issues with students spending habits.

It has also been argued that the burdens of student debt may weigh heavier on women. (Dickler, 2017) uses a case study of a woman, Nicole Heisler. Ms Hiesler stated she delayed her wedding for three years following the stress of paying off her student loan. In addition, The 2017 ORC International Survey found that 1 in 4 millennials with £30,000+ of student loans would take 20+ years to pay off.

Additional Secondary Research Done In Week 7

I decided to do some additional secondary research in week 7 in order to strengthen my knowledge of students and student debt.
The mental health of students is a big concern in relation to finance. I looked at an article centred around a longitudinal study gathered by the UNIversity Quality of Life and Learning (Cooke et al., 2004) This study covered a variety of issues including mental health, individual’s financial concerns and levels of paid work of third year students. The study noted the participant’s demographics; what they anticipated the debt would be at the end of the course and questions relating to mental health. In all 3 years, students answered a number of questions ‘Are financial concerns a current issue?’ (1=not at all 5=a lot) they were also asked ‘To what extent does your debt worry you? I found that out of 790 students, 75% of people find financial issues a concern ranging from a lot to moderate. 73% find that part time employment puts pressure on studies from a lot to a little bit. (Audin, Davy and Barkham, 2003) Looking at the mental health of students, UNIQoLL helped me identify how people felt about finances (ibid Appendix 1.a). 25% of people said that financial issue concerns them a lot. This didn’t surprise me as a number of students struggle to keep on top of finances. Part-time employment putting pressure on studies is something that was outlined by the second year student Fiona. These figures strengthen these assumptions as a lot of students took part in this survey.

Overall, my secondary research helped my development of my project a lot. The results of the various different articles and studies informed my own primary research and showed me some potential topics I want to touch on.

Primary Research

My second set of responses came from 20 students aged 18-25.

From my results, I can conclude a number of potential problems in relation to students and their finances. Most students rely on student finance to fund their studies and this student finance funds everything including maintenance, tuition, rent, food and even luxuries.

Most people do not have a budget and most people that do have a budget admitted to not sticking to their budget. I found that a reasonable amount of money being spent for academic purposes are most common and most people typically spend around £30-£50 a month on luxuries. Most participant’s money went on going out (clubs, pubs, bars, events) and rent.

People ranged variously from slightly concerned to concern and one participant being extremely anxious about their financial situation.

The results for the effect on studies were reasonably split between yes, no and sometimes and the ranges of extent were split.

The complete breakdown of my results are below:

  • Most of the participants (58%) were ages 17-19.


  • 64% of participants rely on student finance
  • 29% partially rely on student finance.
  • 41.2% of people said student finance fully funds everything
  • 11.8% said student finance funds rent or living cost but not luxuries
  • 5.9% said student finance funds their tuition fees only.
  • 23.5% said student finance partially funds rent and living costs but fully funds tuition fees
  • 5.9% said student finance partially funds tuition fees and rent
  • 5.9% said student finance barely funds tuition fees or living cost
  • 5.9% said they do not use student finance


  • 3 people said their parents or relatives help them fund their studies


  • 1 person said they work while studying to fund their studies.
  • 1 other person uses their personal savings to fund their studies


  • 52.9% said they have a budget
  • the other 47.1% do not have a budget


  • 46.2% of people do not stick to their budget
  • 23.1% mostly stick to their budget
  • 15.5% rarely stick to their budget


  • 11.8% spend very little on academic purposes (>£10 a month)
  • 54.8% of people spend a reasonable amount of money for academic purposes (>£30 a term)
  • 29.4% spend a considerable amount of money a term (<£50 a term)
  • 11.8% spend very little on personal luxuries (>£10 a month)
  • 29.4% spend a reasonable amount (>£30 a month)
  • 29.4% spend a considerable amount (<£50 a month)
  • 17.6% spend a large amount (<£100 a month)
  • 11.8% spend a very large amount (<£200-£300 a month)


  • 35.3% of people spend most of their money on going out
  • 17.6% of people spend most of their money on food shopping
  • 5.9% of people spend most of their money on travel
  • 35.3% of people spend most of their money on rent
  • 5.9% of people spend most of their money on academic purposes


  • 47.1% of people felt slightly concerned about their current financial situation
  • 11.8% felt worried
  • 29.4% felt concerned
  • 11.8% felt extremely anxious


  • 35.5% of people said their financial situation affects their studies
  • 29.4% said their financial situation affects them sometimes
  • 35.3% said their financial situation does not affect them


  • 22.2% of people said their financial situation barely effects them
  • 27.8% said their financial situation affects them to a small extent
  • 27.8% their financial situation affects them to a reasonable extent
  • 22.2% said their financial situation affects them to a large extent