Reports 2012/38

Students income, economy and housing costs

Living conditions among students 2010

This report examines various aspects of students' financial situation. It goes into detail on sources of income, debt and economic vulnerability, housing, and consumption. This is a follow up to the report Living conditions among students 2010 (36/2011) that dealt with study conditions, financing of education, employment, housing, social networks, leisure habits and health. Statistics Norway has conducted surveys on students living conditions in 1998, 2005 and 2010/2011.

About 60 percent of full-time students work part time. Nine out of ten students had income from work during 2010. Work payment (salary) represents over half of the student’s available funds (ie. after-tax income, including student loans). Support from Lånekassen, the State Educational Loan Fund, accounted for 41 percent of the total amount, while other sources accounted for 6 percent. Median employment income for students was about NOK 97 000 in 2010. The amount has increased by 34 percent in real terms since the 2005 survey. Study support has declined by 1 percent in the same period adjusted for inflation.

71 percent of students live in rented dwellings, and 17 percent own their own dwelling. Nine out of ten students pay rent or have mortgage expenses. The survey of living conditions for students shows that students had higher housing costs in 2010 compared to 2005. In 2010 the average housing expenses was about NOK 5 400 per month, an increase in the current value of 16 percent compared to 2005. Half of the students had high housingexpense load, meaning that they spend more than a quarter of the household income on housing.

More than half of the students received financial support from their families to cover expenses last year. One in four has received at least NOK 10 000. Those who receive support gets about NOK 9 000 per year (median). Except the support from the State Educational Loan Fund which is the most important income-source, more students report their parents as an important source of income in 2010. There is also a slight increase in the percentage of students who receive regular support from other family members.

Most students loan money from the State Educational Loan Fund to finance their studies, and most students have a NOK 300 000 study dept after graduation. The amount varies with the length of education and study. Some students also have additional loans as credit card debt and consumer loans. Six out of ten students have a credit card and 30 percent of these have unpaid credit card debt. On average students owe NOK 11,000 on such cards. The proportion of students who have credit cards and owing money increases with age. Older students owe more money than the younger students and students with children owe more than those without children.

Fewer students than before are having trouble coping financially, that is having payment difficulties when it comes to unexpected expenses or paying bills. About 18 percent says that they often or sometimes find it difficult to make ends meet and manage expenses for food, housing and transport, compared with 27 percent of students in 2005. Female students seem to have more frequent problems than male students, and singles more than couples, but the differences are small.

Students spent less money in 2010 than in 2005 on ongoing expenses (excluding housing costs) when we adjust for inflation. Expenditures for groceries constitute the largest item. Men spend more money than women on social activities, while women spend more money on shopping (clothing).

Read more about the publication