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Money worries topple exam stress as biggest concern for UK students

  • Over a third of students say money troubles are their biggest concern, above exams and coursework
  • Savvy students take control of their finances as 54 per cent have a savings account or ISA
  • Spending habits have changed dramatically, with a 266 per cent increase in student avocado purchases since the 1990s
New research from Barclays has today revealed that the age of the care-free student life is over, as money has overtaken exam results as the number one concern for British students.

Far from shirking their responsibilities in favour of partying, students are more concerned than ever about their future finances. Over a third of Gen Z students (34 per cent) said that money troubles were most likely to keep them up at night – a change from students who graduated in the 90s who said exam results were top of the list.

Today’s students are also far more financially savvy than previous generations. The number of students with a savings account or an ISA has doubled, as over half (54 per cent) of current students have money stashed away, compared to just 27 per cent of their 90s counterparts. Meanwhile, sixty-two per cent of today’s students said they checked their current account balance on a daily basis, compared to just thirty-three per cent of 90s students.

Sue Hayes, Managing Director of Personal Banking at Barclays commented: “Whilst it’s brilliant to see today’s students taking more care with their finances, it’s concerning that money worries have overtaken exam stress as their number one concern. With student loans at an all-time high, managing your money has never been more important. Keeping on top of budgeting 24/7 with the Barclays Mobile Banking app, proactive push notifications and our text alerts will help to keep finances in check and give students the space to focus on their studies.”

The research also revealed a big shift in student spending since the 1990s. It seems that the nation’s obsession with ‘clean-eating’ has reached universities too, as student spend on green tea, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds is up, while traditional staples, such as baked beans, biscuits and instant noodles, are down. Unsurprisingly, the UK’s most-Instagrammed fruit, avocado, has seen a massive rise of 266 per cent when compared to students in the 90s.

Meanwhile, clean-living students have swapped the pub for the gym, with weekly clubbing sessions out (39 per cent of current students, down from 46 per cent of 90s students) and weekly gym sessions in (44 per cent, up from 21 per cent).

To help relieve some of the financial worries and allow students to enjoy more of what they want for free, Barclays will be installing a ‘pay by tweet’ vending machine on Birmingham City University’s campus during Fresher’s Fortnight. This will be stocked with must-have student purchases, including health foods and lifestyle items, to help new students settle in to the first few weeks of university life. The machine will remain on campus until early October, to ease all students into the new term.

For more information about Barclays student accounts, visit
Notes to editors


  • Students can apply for a £500 fee-free overdraft on account opening, then up to £3,000 over the course of their studies. Representative example: Fee-free overdraft up to £3,000 (subject to application, status and lending criteria) while you stay within that limit.
  • Cashback at over 150 retailers, including 6% on selected hotel and 3% on selected hotel and flight bookings with Expedia.
  • Keep on top of budgeting 24/7 with Barclays Mobile Banking, proactive push notifications and text alerts on Apple, Android and Windows phones.
  • For full information and benefits of Barclays Student Additions account, visit

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .