More students staying at home to reduce
Fewer students are leaving home when they go to university, a survey
shows. A quarter now continue to live with their parents. The desire
to save money is a strong consideration for the stay-at-home students
who leave with less than half the debts of those living in halls
or rented accommodation.
But a liking for home comforts is also a factor says Frank Furedi,
professor of sociology at the University of Kent, because, allowing
for inflation, accommodation costs have not risen significantly
since the l970s.
"There are a lot of middle class students who pay rent during
the Easter and summer vacations, but go home to their parents,"
he says. "Students in the l970s were very different, They would
rather have lived in a hole with five other people, sharing a bathroom
and an outside toilet, than stay at home with their parents because
they valued their freedom and autonomy.
"Someone who in the past would have gone away would rather
have mum washing their clothes and the use of dad's computer. It
is a negative development because it means staying as an adolescent
rather than becoming an independent adult."
The survey reported in today's Times Higher Education Supplement,
found 45 per cent of students at the new universities said closeness
to home was an important factor in their choice, compared with 33
per cent of those at traditional universities. It was the one deciding
factor for 25 per cent overall.
Of those living at home, 40 per cent expected to complete their
courses with debts of £7,500, or lower, compared with 15 per
cent of students in halls of residence. They were more likely to
rely on part-time jobs, however, and spent longer on travel. A third
of the students living at home said they travelled for between two
and three hours a day.
The increasing distance between university and the student's home
was worrying, said Mark Phippen, the head of the counselling service
at the University of Cambridge. "It is important for a student
to feel they belong within a university or a social group. That's
not a minor thing to have lost. If you have less connection to your
institution it is easier to drop out."
Eight per cent of the students questioned in the survey for the
supplement and Sodexho, the student accommodation and catering company,
said they had £9.50 a week after housing costs, but 10 per
cent had £150 or more.
published in the Daily Telegraph, 22 April 2004