Perspectives on higher education payments from students in the U.K.

U.K. higher ed students struggle with education expenses and government loans

U.K. students are more likely to say they need help with their education expenses than students across nine other countries surveyed by Flywire, with 85% saying they need help affording their education expenses. Similar levels of need can be found only in India (84%) and Australia (83%).

In Flywire’s latest research exploring the attitudes and experience of more than 1,800 students around the world, we also learned from 200 students in the U.K. that they favor payment plans and see room for improvement in their university’s payment processes.

Education loans are more common for students in the U.K. than any other country.

  • 83% of the students surveyed in the U.K. have taken out loans to pay for their higher education, meaningfully more than the next highest, Australia (72%) and Canada (50%), and dramatically higher than Mexico (25%) & Peru (19%).
  • 61% of those education loans come from the national government, by far the highest percentage of any country.
  • The loans are not worry free though. 78% of the students are concerned about paying them back – with the most pressing issue being that it may prevent them from saving for a home.

Installment plans increase higher education affordability.

  • 87% say installment payment plans would make tuition more affordable.
  • Fortunately, 62% of U.K. students say their institution offers installment payment options. Of those attending schools with that option, 69% of students say they are currently using them, or have in the past.

Ease and convenience dictate payment methods for students and families in the U.K.

  • The payment methods used most, by students in the U.K. to pay their tuition fees, are debit cards (28%) and bank transfers/bank checks (27%).
  • Given the choice, their preferred options would be similar – bank transfer/bank check (25%), debit card (14%). But students would also like to see PayPal (14%) as a payment method offered by their universities.
  • Students in the U.K. chose those methods because of their ease (41%), convenience (30%), schools’ suggestion (30%) and because they feel it is the most secure (24%).

Students in the U.K. still see room for improvement in payment processes.

  • 72% say having multiple payment methods creates confusion for them –– among the highest of any country.
  • Almost 9 out of 10 of students in the U.K. (88%) say that having access to a simplified payment process would improve their higher education experience.
  • 83% say if the institution/education agent recommended a payment provider option it would also simplify the process.
UK College Student

For more on the payment preferences and solutions for higher education institutions and students: