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Students have cash to burn, survey shows

Students in South Africa spend on average R42,120 a year, a survey shows. This is substantially more than the R35,900 spent by nonstudents.

The 2013 Student Village — Student Spend Report, a national review which profiled students, says the near 1-million student population is spending a staggering R39.5bn a year, a figure set to rise further.

Annually, students spend R6.2bn filling their bellies — most of it takeaways — and R2.8bn on alcoholic beverages.

Commentator Thami Mazwai, who in a column last year criticised university students at the country’s "Ivy League" institutions for drinking lavishly and throwing R200 notes at each other, said on Tuesday the survey revealed the consumption mentality prevalent among the young generation.

"It is a disturbing fact that the status of a person is encompassed in the kind of whisky that they drink. The kind of frivolous spending we see students partaking in is reinforcing a lifestyle that we South Africans need to move away from. Instead of spending that money, why don’t they find ways to make it grow? " he said.

Of the 681 respondents, 78% said their source of income was their parents, 24% said it was part-time work and 18% said they received money from a bursary or a sponsorship.

Market analyst Chris Moerdyk said it was not all that shocking or implausible that students outspent the average citizen, especially when there was rampant unemployment in the country.

"I’m not particularly surprised that students would spend more or, should we say, so much of their parents’ money.

"Given that tertiary education is quite pricey we must assume that the average student must have a lot of financial backing and support. It’s all about context. Youth in general, who make up 60% of our population, generally don’t have much spending power, but students do."

New research released by job search engine Adzuna yesterday sought to address the age-old debate on which faculties and degrees lead to better earnings.

The study showed that economics graduates will have the most spending power in future.

Entry-level jobs with an economics degree offer a hefty R448,507 a year, while a humanities graduate can expect to earn R271,386 a year.

The study analysed more than 70,000 live jobs to reveal the number of entry-level jobs available to university graduates.

Adzuna head of research Flora Lowther said engineering and finance sectors are rich in entry-level vacancies, with employers in these sectors being prepared to pay top dollar for university graduates — about 49% more than the national average. Hairdressers earn an average entry-level salary of R390,000 a year.

Graduates looking for high-paying jobs should head to Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth, where they can earn an average pay of more than R450,000 a year. The worst-paying cities include Nelspruit and Witbank, where they can expect to earn less than R240,000 a year.

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