UK's students turning to drug trials, gambling and adult work for financial support

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The 2017 National Student Money Survey has revealed that an increasing number of UK’s students are resorting to drug trials, gambling and adult work to support their finances.

The survey showed that about 7 percent of total respondents had engaged in at least one of these methods as a result of financial struggles, with drug trials and adult work being turned to by 2 percent of students each. Adult work can refer to making money from sex or sex-related activities, including ‘sugar dating’ (although this does not necessarily entail having sexual relations) and even prostitution. Gambling fared worse, with 7 percent of respondents claiming to have used it to boost their finances.  

Save the Student reported that a further survey they conducted revealed these paying medical trials as including a study about anxiety and a medical survey that saw a small muscle cut from their thigh. It also reported that 66 percent of students felt the Maintenance Loan was insufficient to live on, while 57 percent believed Student Finance is unfair.  

Unsurprisingly, half of Save the Student’s respondents also claimed mental health issues stemming from financial worries, with 42 percent asserting that this then had an adverse effect on their relationships with family and friends. CUSU’s Big Cambridge Survey Report 2016-17 also released their findings on the financial state of students in the University earlier this year, with 30 percent of surveyed students finding their extra living costs from the colleges “problematic”.  Mature students were also found to suffer from financial difficulties the most, and are more likely to work a non-academic job to support their academic expenses.

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