Cost-of-living crisis forcing young adults to scrap university plans and use foodbanks

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And one in three (32 percent) are already feeling the effects of inflation to a great extent – with bills, food prices, and petrol prices among the cost increases which have shocked them the most.

As a result, 21 percent are rethinking their plans to go to university, while 18 percent have sought help from a foodbank.

Other things young adults have had to cut down on, or stop completely, include nights out with friends, getting takeaways, and even booking holidays.

As a result, nearly a quarter (23 percent) are worried about what the future holds – with 55 percent more determined than ever before to get a job that pays well.

Martin Upton, cost-of-living expert, and Senior Lecturer in Business at The Open University, which commissioned the research, said: “Everyone is feeling the pinch, but people might not realise just how much it is affecting the younger generation.

“Although financial anxiety is at an all-time high for all, it’s particularly difficult for young people, since they are making vital decisions at a crucial point in their lives.

“It is a shame to hear so many are rethinking their plans for university study.”

The study also found 35 percent of those polled have had to rethink their career plans because of the cost-of-living crisis.

And more than half (56 percent) plan on taking extra courses in a bid to better their skillset and knowledge.

As a result of the crisis, 36 percent are worried they will never be able to afford their own home – while nearly a third (31 percent) fear they will struggle to afford food.

Top reasons for the cost-of-living crisis putting young people off going to university include worries of getting into debt they can’t afford to pay back, not knowing how they will work and study at the same time, and wanting to go straight into a full-time job and get paid for it.

It also emerged that while seven percent don’t believe money can buy you happiness, 14 percent reckon they would need to be on at least £35,000 a year to live comfortably.

On top of this, 32 percent said a job that pays well is more important to them than having a job they are happy in.

But of those who took part in the survey, by OnePoll, 53 percent think a well-paying job is harder to find in this day and age.

Martin Upton added: “Now is a better time than ever to be investing in your career and getting that all-important job that pays well.

“Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows that having a UK university degree adds £100k or more on average to lifetime net earnings.

“So, despite the financial uncertainty that young people are facing, and while higher education seems like a big financial commitment, in the long run it will pay off.”

Those who are considering investing in their careers to safeguard their financial futures have until September 8th to register for a course that is of interest at The Open University.


  1. Cut down/stop going on nights out with friends
  2. Reduce/stop getting takeaways
  3. Budget their spending
  4. Stop visiting home to save on travel
  5. Scrap or postpone plans to go to university
  6. Use foodbanks
  7. Get a job
  8. Move back to mum and dad’s 
  9. Get a second job
  10. Eat out less
  11. Increase their working hours in current job
  12. Watch their energy usage so bills aren’t high
  13. Stop treating themselves
  14. Stop buying coffee from a coffee shop
  15. Buy fewer clothes
  16. Buy supermarket “own brand” products
  17. Shop in cheaper supermarkets
  18. Walking instead of driving to places
  19. Stop buying presents for friends/family e.g. birthday/baby shower
  20. Buying secondhand clothes
  21. Stop booking holidays
  22. Use vouchers/coupons and deals to save money
  23. Sell other belongings i.e. clothes, homeware, tech etc.
  24. Buy a Railcard to save on travel
  25. Use public transport
  26. Defer going back to university later this year
  27. Cut any TV subscriptions e.g. Netflix etc.
  28. Stop any sporting activities
  29. Get an extra housemate to help pay for bills
  30. Sell their car

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