A recent study by the Prince’s Trust reveals that money is currently taking the biggest toll on young people’s wellbeing.
The index, which is published annually suggests that, generally, young people’s happiness with their education, work, qualifications, and money are at a historic low since the beginning of the study 15 years ago.
The report states:
“It is clear from the research findings that their confidence, career aspirations and mental health are all suffering as a result, with many left feeling anxious about their futures.”
According to the research findings, 53 per cent of young people worry that they will never be financially secure.
Similarly, 49 per cent stated that they believe that the cost-of-living crisis “has had a worse impact on their life than the pandemic.”
Following the publication of this Index, The Student conducted a survey to find out about Edinburgh students’ opinions on and experiences of the ongoing crisis.
67 per cent of students surveyed stated that they worry about money a few times a week and another 9 per cent at least once a week.
Only a quarter of students stated that they never find themselves left with very little money towards the end of the month, whereas almost 60 per cent stated that they experience it every month.
In accordance with the Prince’s Trust study, 50 per cent of students agreed that the cost-of-living crisis has had a bigger impact on their life than the pandemic.
One student argued:
“Whilst the effects of the pandemic will burn away in the background, I still need to pay rent and put food on the table.
“It’s a constant burden and it makes every day feel like you’re trying to survive rather than actually live.”
A majority of students also stated that despite the pandemic being over they still feel isolated due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Over the past year, 83 per cent of students have travelled less to see family and friends in order to save money or because of lack thereof.
Many described that they miss out on socialising because they cannot afford things such as society memberships, social events, or going out for a coffee or to the cinema with friends.
“All of my income goes on rent, it’s shocking,” one student writes.
Over the past year, more than half of the students who participated in the survey have skipped meals and heated less to save money.
Almost 20 per cent stated that they found themselves unable to pursue a career path due to financial problems and just over a third of undergraduate students said that while they were considering or would like to pursue a master’s degree, they would most likely leave education after graduation to make money and reach financial stability.
Overall, 92 per cent of students said that they do not or not always feel confident about their future.
One person told The Student:
“Whilst the cost-of-living crisis has had an impact on everyone, it affects people from disadvantaged backgrounds much more severely and with devastating consequences.
“For many, there is no safe cushion to fall back onto.
“Lots of people have nowhere to go if we need help. Being at university is a privilege but we often lose sight of how much we sacrifice in order to be here and that makes you start to question whether or not it’s worth it in the first place.”