While it can’t be argued that students shouldn’t have a part time job, it's these jobs that help to build the individual and their CV, whilst providing social skills and a widened social circle.
But are students picking up too many hours to reasonably focus their attention on their studies?
Did you know that teenagers and young adults need more sleep than their parents, requiring up to 10 hours; 2 hours more than fully grown adults! In between late nights partying and early mornings in lectures, part time jobs fill in the spare hours to help students pay towards ever growing study costs, living expenses, and the obligatory social lives. This doesn’t leave a lot of time to catch up on sleeping hours.
Research undertaken by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) and Universities UK  has found that for those taking jobs with in excess of 15 working hours per week, the odds of students getting a first-class or upper-second degree were found to be 62% of similar non-working peers. Comparisons of students considered to be of a similar ability also found those in employment tended to be awarded lower marks in assignments. Almost 70% of those who took part said they were struggling financially and three quarters were concerned about paying back their debts. This leads to more than 80% saying that they spent less time studying because of their term-time jobs, and nearly three-quarters spent less time preparing their assignments.
"Some students' university experience is of a very different calibre to others," says Professor Callender. "The implications are far-reaching. Overall, the vast majority worked because of financial need. The longer hours they worked, the more detrimental the impact on their studies."
The NUS followed up the research, finding that “income from part-time work was going towards ‘things needed to survive’ such as food and rent” – the very basics of what a student living away from parental homes require to exist. While grants and bursaries are available for those whose parents fall under the income threshold, a large proportion of students do not receive state or university funding and do not want to be seen to be struggling by their peers. At this point in their lives, keeping up with the Joneses is extremely important.
In addition, NUS Insight’s ‘Future Finance’ survey of over 2,000 UK students found that more than a third of students say that financial worries have an impact on their mental health , with only 7% of our young academics say they rarely or never worry about money. Shockingly, 34 % students reported selling their personal belongings and 8% said that they would consider gambling to raise more money.
Providing students, generally young adults, with the tools to reduce their financial burden whilst maintaining their independence, dignity and choice, can help to preserve family and friend relationships while teaching budgeting and prioritisation.
Prepaid cards are one such tool, which can be provided by parents or guardians to enable students to purchase necessary items and services both online and instore. With instant top ups, family members can provide funds as and when needed, or on a regular basis without the worry of a delay causing stress when bills are due.
Prepaid cards don’t allow the student to overspend – if the funds aren’t loaded onto the card, they simply can’t spend. This important feature ensures student learn about money management and budgeting; a skill which is seems to be becoming less apparent within the teenage and student population these days.
Yet the impact of bad money management and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder. When energy is spent combating stress, it weakens your immune system, which can lead to declining health and an overall lower quality of life.
Prepaid cards combine the convenience of a credit or debit card with the ability to allow you to set your spending limit according to your budget. They are available to everyone, regardless of credit rating, income, and not subject to the individual holding a UK bank account.
Universally accepted, prepaid cards can help kick start the understanding of the financial relationship which the individual needs to learn to take responsibility for. Ironically the prepaid card sector has placed focus on customers usually from the age of 13, helping children learn the rudiments of managing their finances without the risk of getting into debt.
As the alternative to a traditional bank account prepaid cards are a new way to manage money, with universal appeal and universal acceptance within the UK and abroad, so they are only as limited as the funds loaded onto them. Prepaid cards are delivered efficiently without stringent checks as with credit cards, whilst providing the user with ultimate choice.
The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow – so let’s fund their thirst for knowledge, take away their financial worries, and help them remain young for another day!
Debbie Rose - biog:
With over 10 years’ prepaid card experience in the incentive and promotional market, Debbie has extensive knowledge of prepaid card implementation & operations. Having been integral in the launch of the first B2B prepaid reward card, she understands the technical aspects as much as the importance of the customer journey and ensuring the solution created is fit for purpose to drive individual’s performance and create positive financial behaviours.
Debbie experiences expands to other prepaid card ‘firsts’ including the first self-loading & salary deduction employee benefit card, incorporating a network of retailers providing cashback.