Young Academic brings some startling student news today as YouthNet publishes the results of a survey taken of students and young people and students in the United Kingdom. The most staggering discovery is the fact that young academic’s around the nation are more concerned by their rising debts than they are death – presumably due to the coalition’s disgusting lack of regard for those currently in higher education (excluding Oxbridge of course!). Those looking for Debt Help can look to a number of sites for expert guidance, Young Academic will be featuring these in the coming weeks.
On a more positive note, concern about the financial climate doesn’t actually dampen the aspiration of potential students as 84% still plan to go to university or college.
The research asked 1,101 young people aged 16 to 25 in the UK about their hopes and fears via an online survey during August to September 2011. A repeat of research undertaken in 2008, it also explored their attitudes towards education, employment, housing, marriage and children to see what impact the changing economic climate may have had on young people’s aspirations.
When asked what their one fear for the future would be, more young people said debt (24%), than death (4%) or their own poor health (3%). A fear of death had been top of the list in the same survey in 2008.
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The research report to be released tomorrow (20 October), called Fear and Hoping in the UK, also highlighted a substantial shift in young people’s priorities. When asked what their one wish for the future would be, ‘happiness’ had been the most popular answer in 2008, but moved down to third place in the 2011 survey (17%). Top of the list for most people now is ‘a job’ (32%) and ‘financial security’ (19%).
Undertaken after changes to university fees had been announced, the survey showed that while concern about being able to afford university has increased (24% in 2011, up from 11% in 2008), this hasn’t dampened young people’s aspirations. 84% of respondents who were still at school said they planned to go to college or university.
The large majority of young people said they wanted to get married (86%) and to have children (70%) and this importance about loved ones and being loved corresponded with an increasing number of respondents who feared being alone. One in five (19%) of all the fears mentioned referred to being alone/not meeting the right person, up from just 8% in 2008.
Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YouthNet said: “Given the tough challenges that young people face, it’s clear that they have a real concern over the impact that this will have on their future. Fear about money and jobs are at the forefront of their minds but they remain focussed on achieving their goals.
“They still want to study, to get a good job, own their own home and support their family, but know how hard it’s going to be. They need the right support at these key times to ensure their aspirations become reality.”
Other key findings from the research include:
- 67% thought it will be harder for them to find a job than for their parents
- 66% were worried about being in debt
- When asked what global issues concern them the most, the biggest proportion of respondents mentioned global financial uncertainty (76%).
- 85% thought it was very or fairly important to own their own house, but 71% felt that the current economic climate would make this harder
- Top five wishes for the future: Getting a job (32%), financial security (19%), happiness (17%), having a happy family (13%), living in a better world (6%).
- Top five fears for the future: Debt/money issues (24%), underachieving (21%), loneliness (19%), not finding a job (13%), crime/war (6%).