Nearly half of all university students in the UK will be juggling their studies with part-time work when the new term begins, new research suggests.
NatWest’s annual poll showed that four in 10 will have to work to help pay their way through university.
They will earn a total of £2bn, while their combined cost of living has risen to £10.8bn, from £10.3bn in 2007.
NatWest’s fifth Student Living Index questioned 2,600 undergraduates from 26 towns across the UK.
It showed 750,000 undergraduates – 42% of the UK student population – will be in part-time employment when the 2008/09 academic year begins.
It found the cost of living and the current economic climate is a key factor for 5% of students in deciding where to go to university.
Plymouth is the most cost-effective place, with students an average £3,510 better off than their counterparts in Exeter, which is the most expensive place to study.
According to the research, the average Plymouth student will spend £217 a week on living and housing costs, but will make £115 a week from part-time work.
In contrast, Exeter students will shell out £294 per week, but make just £67.
The hardest working students are in Belfast, where 64% of undergraduates work during term time.
However, students in Portsmouth work the most hours each week, an average of 18.45 hours.
The survey found the highest wages were in Brighton, where students could expect an average weekly income during term time of £120, compared to Swansea, where undergraduates take home just £63 a week.