• Glasgow students most likely in the UK to rate online education value for money
  • More students turning to alcohol to deal with stress than accessing university mental health advice

The ability of students to achieve their degree is being negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, reveals the 2021 Royal Bank of Scotland Student Living Index.

Almost a fifth (18%) of students felt the pandemic negatively affected their ability to achieve their degree – particularly for students studying at Durham where it rises to over one in four (27%) students. On average, only one in ten (10%) students valued the online resources provided by their university, for students in Glasgow this trebled to three in ten (30%).

The full 2021 Royal Bank of Scotland Index is released in full on Friday August 6, having surveyed more than 2300 students across the country. Students were asked a range of questions, on fraud and scams, on how much they spend on essentials such as food, rent and bills, and how much time they spend studying, working and socialising.

Cambridge students gave their university top marks for the overall support they were given during the crisis, with over one in four (27%) feeling highly supported compared to the UK average of under one in five (18%). In comparison, Durham received the lowest score of 8%, followed by Oxford at 11%.

The move to an online education didn’t just impact how students were taught, it also affected their social lives. Four in five (78%) students found it difficult to make new university friends while learning remotely, with London standing out as the easiest place to socialise (38%) and Durham the toughest (10%).

The mental health of students has also taken a hit during lockdown. Over nine in ten (92%) students used some kind of mechanism to cope with stress. The most popular method to alleviate stress was a hobby (59%) while nearly half (49%) sought support from friends. More students said they turned to alcohol (11%) than accessed their university’s mental health resources (9%).

Andy Nicholson, Royal Bank of Scotland head of student accounts said: “The pandemic reshaped the way most of us work, and for many students this meant staying at home for lectures over Zoom, our 2021 Royal Bank Student Living Index reveals just how much this impacted students. As students begin to return to face-to-face learning, we have designed our Student Account offer to help students once again make the most of their time at university.”

The Royal Bank account offers a £50 cash incentive within the first 10 days of account opening and a four-year tastecard membership. Royal Bank also offers free Financial Health checks to help students to organise their finances.

Find out more at www.rbs.co.uk/students

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