One in 25 students use ‘adult work’ to pay for their university lifestyle

One in 25 students turn to “adult work” to fund their lifestyles whilst at university, according to a new study by Save the Student.

The study, which asked over 3,600 students from universities across the UK about their finances, showed that 4% of students said that they used adult work as a way to make money.

According to a statement on Save The Student, one person admitted they had to resort to ‘selling worn underwear’, while another said that ‘being poor has pushed me to look into sex and cam work’.

A third student said: “I did an EEG study where I had sensors stuck to my head with gel for a month.”

Students are resorting to ‘adult work’ to fund a ‘university lifestyle’

Jack Butler, from Save The Student, said: “When it comes to student loans, the focus always seems to be on the £9,250 tuition fees or the extortionate interest. But the real issue is the insultingly low maintenance loans alongside the government’s unwillingness to admit that parents are expected to make up the shortfall.

“It’s a huge talking point between students. Are they fully-fledged adults who are expected to fund themselves? Should they be asking their parents for money? Should their parents be forced to help them out?

“The government needs to put an end to this confusion by being more explicit about parental contributions and/or increase the maintenance loan amount so that it is actually in line with real living costs.”


This is who/what students turn to when they need money. Image by

In total, 11% of students used either gambling, sex work, and drug trials to get money.

In comparison, just 15% of students turned to their university to ask for financial help – and only 2 in 5 students said they found it easy to get advice on finance from their university.

Jack Butler added: “There’s lots of factors at play which determine student spending but there’s an overriding message here.

“No matter where you go to university, it can be expensive. And the student loan most likely won’t cover your costs.

“I’d recommend any student to try and hunt down extra funding by contacting their uni student services. It’s a harsh reality that a part time job is a key part of student life these days too.”

More than 1 out of 10 students use either sex work, gambling or drug trials for extra cash

Nearly half of students say that their mental health has suffered from a lack of money.

And nearly one-third of students also say that financial problems has affected their relationship with others – while half say that their diet suffers due to the lack of funds.

One student on the Save The Student site said that they had “taken food in a bin” when they were low on funds.

Another struggling undergraduate said:  “I’ve stolen food from Waitrose or my housemates, and used a food bank.”

27% of students’ grades suffer as a result of finances. Image by

Many students claim that their maintenance grant barely covered their rent, with some even saying that it didn’t even do that.

One student said: “After my rent, I’m left with an average of £2.09 to live on each week. That’s to cover food, clothes, transport and books.”

Another said “My loan per semester covers only 2 months of my rent and that’s without paying for food and other essentials.”

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